This book offers a bold re-interpretation of the prevailing narrative that US foreign policy after the Cold War was a failure. In chapters that retell and re-argue the key episodes of the post-Cold War years, Lynch argues that the Cold War cast a shadow on the presidents that came after it and that success came more from adapting to that shadow than in attempts to escape it. When strategic lessons of the Cold War were applied, presidents fared better; when they were forgotten, they fared worse. This book tells the story not of a revolution in American foreign policy but of its essentially continuous character from one era to the next. While there were many setbacks between the fall of Soviet communism and the opening years of the Trump administration, from Rwanda to 9/11 and Iraq to Syria, Lynch demonstrates that the US remained the world's dominant power.
Uses a narrative-driven argument to re-evaluate the central episodes of US foreign policy
Argues against the prevailing notion of US decline and failure in the post-Cold War era
Offers a scholarly assessment of President Trump, allowing readers to place his presidency within a larger historical framework
Timothy J. Lynch is Associate Professor in American Politics at the University of Melbourne. He is an award-winning author and editor of several important books on American foreign policy, including the two-volume The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History (2013).
Introduction: in the shadow of the Cold War
1. George H. W. Bush: new world order, old world president, 1989–1992
2. Bill Clinton: new think, 1993–1996
3. Bill Clinton: the return of old think, 1997–2000
4. George W. Bush: a new Cold War, 2001–2004
5. George W. Bush: Truman redux, 2005–2008
6. Barack Obama's flexible response, 2009–2012
7. Barack Obama's soft containment, 2013–2017
Conclusion: Donald Trump and the end of the Cold War shadow?