Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wesley Clark at SAIS

No snark here. I just went down to Johns Hopkins SAIS in DC to listen to Wesley Clark deliver a speech and do some Q&A. Assembled were 50 or so journalists, grad students, Foreign Policy professionals and interested citizens.

The guy is impressive. Compared to each of the mainstream presidential candidates, Clark is clear, forceful, and full of real ideas formed by real experience. Unfortunately, he has yet to throw his hat into the race.

His theme ("Legitimacy- First Task for American Security") is not terribly original, and different versions of it have been bandied about by people like Obama and Hillary. But his clinical, point-by-point dissection of the way this White House has mangled America's image, and his contention that image (not the military) is the true source of American power, is better formulated than any of the frontline Dems.

His eyebrow-raising three-point plan:

1. Change America's image abroad (no more torture, blacksite, extrajudicial kidnapping, unjustified wars, a return to diplomacy)
2. Change the debate at home (I forgot this part, but it was boring anyway).

Point three is the juiciest. Clarks wants to open investigations into the decision-making process behind the Iraq war policy, Abu Ghraib, domestic wiretapping, black sites, and the whole, disgusting Bush foreign policy enterprise, and hold the feet of those responsible to the fire.

Amen, brother. I'm not easily impressed by political rhetoric, but General Clark actually had some goosebumps going. Run Wesley Run.


skahia said...

Thank you for writing about General Clark's appearance - I have always been interested in what he says and he always proves to be correct about the situation.

What Clinton, Obama and Edwards are saying is cribbed from what General Clark has said in the past.

Wes is the one with the original ideas about the current state of affairs in the world today and they copy. He's always said that this doesn't matter as long as his ideas are accepted.

I would love him to throw his hat into the ring and still think that he will.

KayCeSF said...

For a long time since he stepped out of the race in '04, Clark has continually been a sought-after voice on the Hill. Everywhere he speaks he reemphasizes the fact that Dems want to make national security a staple of the Dem agenda. Wes remains a trusted, credible source to help make that happen. The Democratic Party should continually commit to bolstering its national-security credentials, and Wes Clark is the one to lead the way. Too many of the contenders vying for the office of President have committed too late, or after the fact have spoken out only because they were pressured by circumstance or they have found it politically expedient to do so. Too little, too late in my opinion. This is not a position of convenience, the position as President requires a man who has prescience, understands strategy, and has an extraordinary resume that outlines experience. Wes has it all. Wes Clark needs to run because America needs him, and the Democratic Party needs him. And I am convinced the world leaders who know and respect Wes Clark would heave a huge sigh of relief if he could take office in '08.

catherine said...

I have been following what General Clark has had to say on the subject of foreign policy since he testified before both houses of congress in 2002, prior to the IWR vote, and I concur that anything that makes sense in terms of a trategy in Iraq that one hears now coming out of the mouths of Hillary, Obama, Edwards and others was first spoken by General Clark.

The comments on the fact that our Iraq strategy should include the political, economical and diplomatic approaches that it currently lacks was stated by Clark over and over again in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Holding those accountable for getting us into this blunder was also part of Clark's platform when he ran the last time.

Funny thing about original ideas; once they've been stated and time passes, many will forget where they originated.

Clark is not only a true progressive, but he also thinks out of the box. As expected, it takes time for the rest of the pack to catch up to him. Sadder still is that he rarely gets the credit he deserves for those ideas. But considering it isn't credit that he's looking for, but rather results, I conclude that it's all good.

What Clark warned of prior to the IWR vote during one his testimonies:

kungpao said...

I wonder though about someone like Clark coming into the race at this point... maybe he's secretly scamming with Al Gore to jump in together.

Dream ticket.