How Domestic Policy Usurped Foreign Policy

Topic: How domestic policy usurped foreign policy

James Goldgeier:  So in the 1992 election, this was the first election after the end of the Cold War. And although foreign policy had been hugely important during the Cold War, now the American people felt that "we don't have to worry about foreign policy, because we've defeated our main enemy." And one of the reasons George H. W. Bush had so much trouble in 1992, first from Pat Buchanan on the Republican side, Buchanan basically said, "You're spending too much time on foreign policy. You need to worry about the United States." And George H. W. Bush, who had taken great pride in his foreign policy abilities, his foreign policy experience, started, you know, running away from that record because it seemed like it wasn't working for him. And he was running against a guy, Bill Clinton, who never could have been president during the Cold War. Never could have won an election during the Cold War. He had almost no experience; he was derided by the Republicans, who argued that his only foreign policy experience was the time he spent at the International House of Pancakes. And, you know, he wasn't trying to be a foreign policy president. He ran on a theme of "It's the Economy, Stupid." It's interesting. He had some experience as governor with international trade issues and those would be very helpful to him when he became president, but he was not running to make a claim that he was going to, you know, be a foreign policy president. His goal was to try reap the benefits at the end of the Cold War to help rebuild the American economy. And throughout the '90s, foreign policy was seen as a loser, politically. When the Republicans come in in '94 in Congress, their contract with America-- they've got ten planks. You know, there's one on foreign policy, but it was really seen as not very important at all. The big issues were cutting taxes, and term limits for members of Congress and, you know, other issues focused on sort of the conservative agenda, domestically. And the Republicans in '96 nominate Bob Dole for president, you know, it was sort of one of the senior members of the Congress; had been in the Senate, majority leader, World War II hero and it didn't do anything for them. And, you know, then in 2000, you know, they nominate George W. Bush who has no foreign policy experience because it wasn't seen as important. So there really was this sense, in the 1990s, that foreign policy just didn’t matter.


Recorded on: 07/08/2008


James Goldgeier describes how Pat Buchanan challenged George H.W. Bush by saying the world outside our borders comes second.

We're winning the war on cancer

As the American population grows, fewer people will die of cancer.

Credit: JEFF PACHOUD via Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study projects that cancer deaths will decrease in relative and absolute terms by 2040.
  • The biggest decrease will be among lung cancer deaths, which are predicted to fall by 50 percent.
  • Cancer is like terrorism: we cannot eliminate it entirely, but we can minimize its influence.
Keep reading Show less

China's "artificial sun" sets new record for fusion power

China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.

Credit: STR via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.

But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.

Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.

Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.

According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.

The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.

But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.

Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.

Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.

We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.

Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).

With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession

The symbol for love is the heart, but the brain may be more accurate.

  • How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science.
  • One of the problems with early-stage attraction, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, is that it activates parts of the brain that are linked to drive, craving, obsession, and motivation, while other regions that deal with decision-making shut down.
  • Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial.