As a country located in North America listed on cheeroutdoor, the United States experienced significant growth in the 1990s, but also unrest that indicated uncertainty about the nation as a community.
The 1992 and 1996 elections
President Bush ran for reelection in 1992, but was beaten by Democrat Bill Clinton, former Arkansas governor. Independent third-grader Ross Perot, a Texas businessman, collected almost every fifth vote. The last third party candidate got more support was in 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt stood. Clinton won with 43 percent of the vote (44.9 million) against Bush’s 37.5 percent (39.1 million) and Perot’s 18.9 percent (19.7 million). The voter turnout jumped from 52.8 to 58.1 percent of voters.
Clinton won her party’s nomination after entering late in the primary election. In addition to mastering the television medium, commentators considered it an advantage that he belonged to a generation other than both Bush and most of his Democratic competitors. Clinton was blamed for extramarital affairs and for exploiting exemptions to drop military service in Vietnam, but he also managed to portray himself as an empathetic and credible politician in the service of ordinary people. His political program lay to the right of the Democratic Party, including a tougher criminal policy and a willingness to tighten welfare schemes. As such a “New Democrat,” Clinton represented a renewal, and in many cases a right-turn of his party.
The year before the election, Bush had been high on polls following the rapid military victory in Iraq. The economic downturn, and a widespread notion that the president was more interested in foreign policy than the US domestic economy, contributed greatly to declining popularity. He also met opposition in his own party, where Pat Buchanan received significant support from Christian conservative, protectionist, isolationist and immigrant skeptic groups.
Perot created a certain enthusiasm with his direct style and simple solutions in economic policy. The success illustrated a continuing decline in voter party loyalty. Perot paid for his election campaign himself, thus releasing the restrictions that followed from public support. After the election, it was claimed that Perot cost Bush the victory, but electoral research provides a weak basis for such a claim.
At the 1996 presidential election, experienced Senator Robert Dole became the Republican candidate. Clinton was easily re-elected with 49.2 against 40.7 percent of the vote (47.4 against 39.2 million votes). Perot resigned, but received only 8.4 percent support (8.1 million) this time. Dole had a difficult starting point, with economic boom times and rising popularity for Clinton. He also struggled to unite different factions in his own party and also lacked the personal radiance Clinton had.
Demanding superpower role
After the fall of the Soviet Union, when the United States remained as the last remaining superpower, strong isolationist and spending-conscious forces in the United States wanted the country to withdraw from the role of “world policeman”. At the same time, both the UN and the US had become dependent on this particular role, which no one else was able to fill in a crisis situation. Therefore, in order to defend both its own role as a superpower and the role of the UN, the United States entered into several conflicts without clear objectives with the actions.
From Bush, Clinton inherited an American involvement in a UN campaign in Somalia. US troops there were withdrawn from Clinton after 18 U.S. soldiers were killed during a 1993 raid that also killed two helicopters. The failed participation in Somalia was instrumental in the United States choosing not to militarily intervene to stop the Rwanda genocide the following year.
The wars in former Yugoslavia put the relationship between the United States, NATO countries and Russia on a hard and long-standing test. The United States strongly contributed to the signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995 after launching extensive bombing of Serbian positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina that year, illustrating the overwhelming strength of the United States. At the same time, Somalia and the long road to peace in the Balkans had shown that such strength was not always enough to settle complicated conflicts. It was illustrated anew when the US again launched air strikes against Yugoslavia in 1999, this time to stop Serbian attacks in Kosovo.
The lessons learned from these actions reinforced the widespread skepticism of US military use following the Cold War, at least where the goal was not easily identified.
Clinton took a pivotal role in the efforts to create peace in the Middle East and the process that seemed to accelerate the Oslo Accords. Towards the end of the decade, however, the American attempts to bring Israel and the Palestinian representatives to a peace deal were stranded. Clinton also actively participated in the work for a peace agreement in Northern Ireland.