In the weeks just before the November 1994 elections, public-opinion polls registered a slight rebound by the Democrats, although it turned out to be fleeting. The rally tracked a small but noticeable upswing in President Clinton’s popularity, which in turn was traceable to a rise in confidence in his handling of foreign affairs. And indeed, his administration had recently strung together three apparent foreign-policy successes. North Korea had agreed to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear-weapons program. The military rulers of Haiti had given way to an American occupation without firing a shot. And Iraq’s elite forces had reversed their march toward the Kuwaiti border.
Clinton thus discovered, as had so many occupants of the White House before him, that there is nothing like a success abroad to make a President look presidential. For a while there was even talk that in his second two years, Clinton would be the foreign-policy President.
About the Author
Joshua Muravchik, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is working on a book about Arab and Muslim democrats.