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The case for Clinton

Bill Clinton, 50 in August, looks set for a second term. To a swathe of American opinion, liberal and conservative, this is a travesty. But Martin Walker contests the view that he is merely an undisciplined opportunist and describes his inspired re-ordering of the US's domestic and international consensus

The us has traditionally been governed by a double consensus, in which both parties broadly agree on the main goals of both foreign and domestic policy. There is great room for argument and party rivalry within this consensus; there are also times when the foundations of national interest and economic structure suddenly shift, and the political process is thrown into disarray until a new consensus forms. The Clinton presidency has marked just such a period. He experienced the crumbling of 50 years of agreement on the fundamental principles of policy at home and abroad. He thus became the first president…

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