The Vice President and Foreign Policy: From 'The Most Insignificant Office' to Gore as Russia Czar
Richard Weitz, Case Studies Working Group Report, March 2012
64 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2017
Date Written: March 15, 2012
The Clinton administration’s Russia policy was innovative in two major ways. First, at a level unprecedented in American history, it actively sought to foster economic and political liberalization as a tool to advance American security interests. Second, it specifically empowered a Vice President (VP), Al Gore, to play a leading foreign policy role, in this case through the Bi-National Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, which he co-chaired with the Russian Prime Minister. This case study is divided into two main parts. First is an overview of the history of the vice presidency. The second part of the case study examines VP Gore’s role specifically in U.S.-Russia policy in the 1990s. The Clinton administration sought to build a strong relationship with Russia on security issues and also to transform Russia by encouraging economic and political reform. In this part of the text, the Commissions’ operations and the VP’s role in the security and transformation tracks are described. This is followed by an examination of the advantages and disadvantages of granting the VP a major line assignment, which are highlighted by the history of the U.S.- Russian Commissions. Finally, the overall effectiveness of the Clinton administration’s Russia policy is discussed.
Keywords: Russia, international affairs, vice presidency
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