Talks on Clinton’s Grand Strategy

Final Cover

I will be holding a series of talks over the coming months to mark the release of Clinton’s Grand Strategy. The dates for these events will be updated and uploaded as they are confirmed:


January 30: The New College of the Humanities


February 6: LBC Radio

February 24: CNBC Television



March 3: University of Northampton

March 10: RTE Radio

March 24: Global Diplomacy Forum

March 25: Richmond University, Kensington campus

March 26: King’s College London

March 27: University College London, Institute of the Americas


April 29: University of Hull


Interviews on Clinton’s Grand Strategy

Final Cover

I have conducted a series of interviews to mark the imminent release of Clinton’s Grand Strategy that you may find of interest.

Interview on CNBC

Interview with The History Vault

Interview for My American Studies

Interview for The British Association of Political Studies’ American Politics Group

Interview for The Political Studies Association

Interview for Bloomsbury

Interview for RTE Radio

Interview for The New Books Network

Clinton’s Grand Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World

Final Cover

 Clinton’s Grand Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World is now available in the UK and will be released in April in the United States. It is available simultaneously in hardback, paperback and electronic formats and can be ordered NOW on and I will be attending a series of events to mark the release and will be happy to provide signed copies upon request.

Access a special preview of the book HERE

About the Book

President Clinton’s time in office coincided with historic global events following the end of the Cold War. The collapse of Communism called for a new US Grand Strategy to address the emerging geopolitical era that brought upheavals in Somalia and the Balkans, economic challenges in Mexico and Europe and the emergence of new entities such as the EU, NAFTA and the WTO. Clinton’s handling of these events was crucial to the development of world politics at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Only by understanding Clinton’s efforts to address the challenges of the post-Cold War era can we understand the strategies of his immediate successors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both of whom inherited and continued Clinton-era policies and practices.

James D. Boys sheds new light on the evolution and execution of US Grand Strategy from 1993 to 2001. He explores the manner in which policy was devised and examines the actors responsible for its development, including Bill Clinton, Anthony Lake, Samuel Berger, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke. He examines the core components of the strategy (National Security, Prosperity Promotion and Democracy Promotion) and how they were implemented, revealing a hitherto unexplored continuity from campaign trail to the White House. Covering the entire duration of Clinton’s presidential odyssey, from his 1991 Announcement Speech to his final day in office, the book draws extensively on newly declassified primary materials and interviews by the author with key members of the Clinton administration to reveal for the first time the development and implementation of US Grand Strategy from deep within the West Wing of the Clinton White House.


‘In Clinton’s Grand Strategy, James D. Boys provides a comprehensive and balanced assessment of America’s foreign policy by its first Post-Cold War president. He persuasively argues that President Clinton pursued a foreign policy that focused on “national security, prosperity promotion, and democracy promotion” and one that was more cohesive and strategic than some earlier analyses have suggested – albeit not always successful in implementation. Dr. Boys employs careful scholarship throughout, utilizes numerous interviews with key Clinton officials and critics to make his case, and writes in a clear and engaging style. In all, Clinton’s Grand Strategy is an important contribution and should prove to be a ready reference for understanding American foreign policy during a crucial decade.’

James M. McCormick,

Iowa State University, USA

‘Extending his earlier work, Dr. Boys provides a carefully-researched and well-argued analysis of the Clinton foreign policy, identifying a thoughtful and consistent grand strategy often overlooked by critics and commentators. Drawing on key documents and insightful interviews, Dr. Boys illuminates the strategic considerations that began in the 1992 presidential campaign and provides a window to understanding U.S. foreign policy in that unique period between the prolonged end of the Cold War and the now dominant and perhaps perpetual War on Terror.’

Stephen A. Smith,

Professor of Communication at the University of Arkansas, USA and former Executive Assistant to Governor Bill Clinton

About Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is a leading global publisher with offices in London, Sydney, New York, Doha and New Delhi. Bloomsbury is home to  Harry Potter, Jay McInerney and the Churchill Archive. In 2013 the Academic & Professional Division was awarded two Independent Publishers Guild awards: Independent Publisher of the Year and Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year. The division was also shortlisted for two Bookseller Industry Awards: Academic, Educational & Professional Publisher of the Year and Digital Strategy of the Year.


Clinton’s Grand Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World to be published by Bloomsbury

I am delighted to announce that I have signed a book contract that will see my research into the Clinton Administration’s Grand Strategy published by Bloomsbury. The book will be available simultaneously in hardback, paperback and electronically and will be listed for pre-order on Amazon in the coming months, with publication anticipated for Christmas 2014.

About the Book

Examining the policy making process and the implications that theses decisions had on the global stage, Clinton’s Grand Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World will draw on interviews with leading members of the former Clinton National Security Council and his foreign policy team.  The book examines the evolution and execution of U.S. Grand Strategy during the Clinton Administration (1993-2001), exploring the manner in which policy was devised, the characters responsible for its development, the philosophical and political factors that shaped it and the way in which the policy was implemented.

Clinton’s Grand Strategy was designed to address the world in the aftermath of the Cold War and the book will cover the dramatic events that affected its implementation. The manner in which these events shaped or hindered policy implementation will be considered in detail, as will tensions that existed between the abstract task of developing policy and the challenges of implementation in a constantly evolving world system. Drawing on materials and interviews with those who knew and worked in the administration, this book places Clinton’s Grand Strategy in sharp relief, detailing the evolution of the president and his administration from their early days in office as they sought to come to terms with the power at their disposal, through their two terms in the White House as they attempted to implement their grand design.

About Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is a leading global publisher with offices in London, Sydney, New York, Doha and New Delhi. Bloomsbury is home to  Harry Potter, Jay McInerney and the Churchill Archive. In 2013 the Academic & Professional Division was awarded two Independent Publishers Guild awards: Independent Publisher of the Year and Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year. The division was also shortlisted for two Bookseller Industry Awards: Academic, Educational & Professional Publisher of the Year and Digital Strategy of the Year.


JDB at ‘Contested Spaces’ conference next week

I am delighted to announce that I have been invited top participate at a very prestigious event next week to be held at King’s College, London. Organised by Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, ‘Contested Spaces: The Third Quadrennial Global Internet and Politics Conference’, is being sponsored by eBay. I will be addressing the conference during a session entitled “The Uses (and misuses) of the internet in democratic political campaigning”.

The ‘Contested Spaces’ conference brings together key figures from the worlds of political campaigning, business, technology policymaking and academia. It will provide a high-level and substantive examination of the Internet and its impact not only on electoral politics, but also on civil society, commerce and government.

I am particularly excited that leading figures from President Obama’s re-election campaign will be present, including Jen O’Malley Dillon, Deputy Campaign Manager for President Obama, and Joe Rospars, Founding Partner and Creative Director of Blue State Digital and the Chief Digital Strategist for “Obama for America”.

The event will also be attended by Ian Spencer and Bret Jacobson from Red Edge, a digital advocacy group for conservative causes that was recently featured in the New York Times challenging the Republican Party establishment to see the failures of its online strategy and execution in 2012.

Members of British, German and French political parties, leading academics and media players will join them to comment on the lessons that might be learnt from the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign. Because of the enormous impact the Internet has had on political practice, from radical movements in the Arab world to elections in Africa, the conference theme will encompass how governments may seek to shape and regulate the Internet in ways that might limit its political and economic value. In addition, the event will look at what policymakers might be able to learn from commercial uses of the Internet.

It will doubtless be a fascinating event and I am delighted to be involved. Watch my presentation HERE and click on Breakout Session 1

JDB on Monocle24’s ‘Midori House’

I had the great pleasure of appearing on Monocle24 Radio yesterday with Phil Han and Emma Nelson. I was invited along to appear on the show, Midori House as their daily ‘Agenda Setter’ which allowed me to discuss a series of issues and news stories that are developing in the media. I chose to focus on issues surrounding freedoms, including freedom of speech, freedom of protest and freedom of travel.

I addressed these in relation to the death of Lady Thatcher, the right to travel to Cuba and the developments regarding North Korea.

The show is available for your listening pleasure HERE

Obama’s Journey To The Dark Side

In the 2008 presidential election, the Democratic Party candidate was eager to exploit a speech he had made 6 years earlier in Chicago, in which he lambasted the administration of George W. Bush and its ‘armchair, weekend warriors,’ determined to ‘shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost.’ The state senator utilized a rhetorical device he had been building toward, repeatedly challenging, “You want a fight, President Bush?” before listing a series of priorities that risked being overlooked following an invasion of Iraq: the fight with bin Laden and al Qaeda; the need to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to do their work; the need to find peace in the Middle East and the development of a new energy policy.  The candidate’s true stance on the war, however, might be gleaned from an unguarded moment during the 2004 Democratic National Convention at which he sprang to national prominence. As noted by Heilemann and Halperin in their 2010 text Game Change, he remarked “there’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.” The longer Barack Obama is president, the more evident this remark becomes.

This week has witnessed a remarkable turn of events as the Obama administration has been forced to release a legal finding that has, quite literally, granted the president the power of life and death over seemingly all humanity. Whilst it has long been apparent that the U.S. was willing to engage in an increasingly robust use of drone strikes against an ever-increasing number of foreign-born targets, there was a sense that even Obama was bound by the Constitution that granted due process to American citizens. However, this may no longer be the case, although one imagines that the Supreme Court may well end up issuing a ruling on the subject. In a document released by the Justice Department, a key right guaranteed to Americans appears to have been removed, provoking outrage, though not necessarily from the obvious location. Remarkably, the American right, not the left, is leading protests; the Libertarians, not the ACLU, which is telling in itself.

With drones being referred to by Senator Diane Feinstein as ‘the perfect assassination tool’ it is no surprise that their use has expanded rapidly as the White House seeks to reduce cost and increase efficiency, whilst simultaneously withdrawing troops and maintaining a credible posture against her perceived enemies throughout the world.   Indeed the evolution of drones parallels the evolution of Obama: What began as a rather benign platform designed merely to offer a surveillance tool has become the latest vehicle of devastation delivering death from the skies. Similarly, the man who campaigned as the anti-Bush in 2008 now appears to be determined to out-do his predecessor and comes equipped with an equally complicit Attorney General.

Much was made of the legal rulings relating to the prosecution of the war on terror issued by the Justice Department under George W. Bush. The findings of John Yoo came in for particular scrutiny. This week, however, has seen the release of a legal ruling that goes far beyond anything that was issued whilst George W. Bush was president. In response to demands from Congress and in particular the filibuster by Rand Paul, Attorney General Eric Holder has released a letter detailing the president’s authority to use drone strikes against American citizens, potentially on American soil. This potentially opens the way for drones to patrol American boarders, armed not only with surveillance equipment, but also with more lethal cargo designed to prevent further illegal immigration. Drones are already being used as surveillance tools so their development in this direction for domestic use is hardly a leap.

The issue speaks directly to a fundamental problem in regard to the relationship between the Justice Department and the White House. The president gets to appoint America’s chief law official, who then becomes beholden to the chief executive for his very livelihood. In the United States, officials serve at the pleasure of the president and whilst removing an Attorney General is not something a president would do lightly, it is hardly unheard of. The problems in this relationship become compounded when the president appoints a friend to the job, as is the case with Eric Holder, since it further blurs the boundaries of responsibility and accountability.

Throughout Obama’s first term, Holder was a lightening rod for opponents of the administration’s efforts to process the legal aspect of the war on terror. From closing the Guantanamo Bay prison facility to holding trials for those charged with terrorist activity, Holder was required to advise the president and on issue after issue ran into serious opposition from Congress that forced the administration to capitulate. That Holder survived the first term was nothing less than miraculous. That he retuned in the second term is even more remarkable. However, whatever controversies he thought he had faced in the first term will pale into insignificance compared to the firestorm that threatens to erupt over the legal finding released this week that appear to contradict the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Holder’s subsequent efforts to walk back this position will only add to the confusion and again are reminiscent of his constant manoeuvring in the first term.

The legal wrangling affects not only American citizens but the wider international community and the attempted extension of United States’ laws into the international domain is an area for increasing concern. It has been extended to cover Canada in relation to pollution and with the expansion of drone bases in Africa, the seemingly unstoppable Americanisation of global justice continues apace. The continuation of America’s epic struggle with the forces of political violence, over a decade after 9/11, presents a whole series of challenges to international law and to the international community. The world is becoming beholden to American justice but without a say in its development in an odd twist of history: The United States came into being once citizens in the American colonies became tired of taxation without representation. Today, much of the world is beginning to feel like an American colony, beholden to U.S. policy but without any role in its development. Is it time to say, “No assassination without representation”?

Republicans are displaying their outrage at this decision and raising issues of due process. They have a valid point. But they are also partly to blame for the dénouement that they have left the administration in. Obama has been unable to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility due to Congressional resistance. The camp is politically unwelcome but neither can it be closed. Prisoners cannot now be relocated to Super-Max prisons in the United States and no other country is scrambling to accept them either. They remain in continued legal limbo. Having been placed in an effective checkmate over the whole idea of prisoners, the White House will not feel inclined to add to a list of inmates. No wonder, therefore, that the debate over Kill or Capture is being won by proponents of the former rather than the latter.

This all comes about in the same week that the Senate voted to confirm John Brennan as DCI. Brennan has spent the first term as Obama’s chief counter-terrorism tsar and has been a chief advocate of drone technology. His move to Langley could signal that the agency continues to play a large role in the use and control of such technology in the foreseeable future.

As Obama moves to secure his foreign policy team for his second term, he does so in the knowledge that he is now beyond the will of the American electorate. Never again will he be required to place his name on a ballot and seek approval for his policies or actions. Rather, it is now his legacy that is at stake, and in this turn of events, it appears that his journey to the Dark Side is Complete.