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America's strategists are at sixes and sevens. At issue: how to chart the United States' moral compass. Repeatedly, we intervene in a host of nations--Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Haiti--to redress grave human suffering. To date, our responses have been uneven, without any clear-cut guidelines for engagement.
There are also mixed signals on the trade front. First, the Clinton administration exerted high-handed tactics with China. To the chagrin of many liberals, the White House later recanted its hard line, electing to de-link trade from human rights. In doing so, the President pursued the "constructive engagement" logic of the Bush administration--arguing that more, not less, foreign trade was the best way to promote human rights. No doubt, Washington's about-Face was tempered by the need for Beijing's support in defusing North Korea's nuclear ambitions, in reconciling the Spratly Islands dispute, and in addressing the fate of Hong Kong. But President Clinton's stops and starts confounded many nonetheless,
In another widely publicized incident, the White House delivered three separate appeals for clemency to the Singaporean …