Tracing the shift : understanding the Clinton administration's abandonment of 'Lift and Strike'
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This work examines the shift in the Clinton Administration's Balkans policy from the start of the 1992 presidential campaign, when Clinton first articulated an activist policy, to May 1993, when he abandoned that policy in favor of a weaker European-led plan. With many actors resisting an activist policy for the Balkans, the prospect of a failed intervention threatened to derail Clinton's expansive domestic agenda. Having been elected on platform of domestic renewal, Clinton chose the primacy of his domestic agenda over a risky Balkans intervention. Helping to fill a void in existing American Bosnia policy literature, examining why Clinton abandoned his tough campaign strategy allows a better understanding of how the West found itself without an effective policy for ending the Balkan war until the 1995 US-sponsored Dayton Peace Accords. Using a levels of analysis approach to examine the six actors that most influenced the shift in the administration's policy is instructive. Assessing the combined influence of these actors. Congress, America's allies, the media and American public opinion, Clinton's foreign policy triad, the Pentagon, and the office of the president, helps to unearth why, without widespread support for intervention and with the prospect that a failed policy could derail the administration's domestic agenda, Clinton chose to abandon the activist "Lift and Strike" policy.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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