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Wesley Clark on Foreign Policy

NATO General; Democratic Candidate for President


End China’s currency manipulation to help US manufacturers

Stop China’s currency manipulation: Wes Clark will push for what the G-7 has already supported: market-based exchange rates. No large country, including China, should be allowed to manipulate currency markets to keep its currency at artificially low levels. The reason is simple: China’s undervalued currency gives Chinese manufacturers a significant price advantage over US manufacturers.
Source: Campaign website, Clark04.com, “Manufacturing Security Plan” Nov 25, 2003

Establish “Civilian Reserve” for times of military need

I believe that Americans today remain willing to offer their skills and energy to their country if given the opportunity. That’s why I want to create a Civilian Reserve, which would draw on these patriotic resources in times of need.

Americans who register for the Civilian Reserve would present their occupation, skills (including language skills), and preferences for local, national, or international service. In times of need, the President could issue a “voluntary call to service.” Civilian Reservists would then be asked to use their particular skills in support of the nation. Emphasis on the Internet and information technology would minimize the need for bureaucratic support.

In addition to creating the Civilian Reserves, I support passage of the bipartisan Call to Service Act, which would allow AmeriCorps to grow from 50,000 today to 175,000 in 2008, and would direct it to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security to make America safer.

Source: Campaign website, Clark04.com, “The Call to Service” Nov 25, 2003

Embargoes don’t work in Cuba or other dictatorships

Q: Would you change the embargo against Cuba?

A: When you isolate a country, you strengthen the dictators in it. If you want to change the dictators, you’ve got to open it up so ordinary people in those countries can see what they’re missing in the rest of the world, and gain strength and ideas from everybody else. And they’ll take control of their future. We’re not going to reward Castro, but to make sure that Cubans have a democracy and they have the same rights as everybody else on this planet.

Source: CNN “Rock The Vote” Democratic Debate Nov 5, 2003

War on Terror is ideal for multilateral action-Bush does not

With the outpouring of pro-US sentiment at the UN and around the world, the few weeks after 9/11 constituted a unique window through which the international community, international law, and the firm commitments of our NATO allies could have been fully engaged. Instead, the US worked mostly bilaterally with other nations.

Here was a situation that cried out for work through a unified mechanism like NATO. States don’t willingly assume expensive and difficult burdens, like changing laws and procedures [to deal with terrorist cells]. Rather, their international actions follow domestic political agendas. This is the genius of NATO, for it converts international issues into domestic political issues by requiring governments to take positions and defend them at home. The Bush administration’s resistance to fully engaging other states through NATO reflected a lack of respect for the constitutional and political processes of other states. The US was left wrestling with 100 governments bilaterally.

Source: Winning Modern Wars, by Wesley Clark, p.126-128 Oct 9, 2003

Use UN to gain credibility in Iraq

We should use the UN for what it is good for. It offers credibility. It will not offer troops or money. We pay 25% of the UN budget but we’re not going to get the UN to contribute the other 75%. But we can use the UN in Iraq to help spread the blame around -- let them hate some French and some others, instead of just hating us. The UN offers credibility because there’s not one Iraqi who votes in the US. But they do have a delegate to the UN.
Source: The Connection with Dick Gordon, NPR radio Sep 8, 2003

Contribute to democratization in Muslim world

Q: I’m a Muslim and I’d like to hear your opinion on US relations with Muslim countries.

A: We expect the US to be judged by who we are and what we do. Muslims live here, so who we are is not the problem, it’s what we have done. We need to focus on the peaceful transformation of governments. It’s not so much about terrorist states, but about our allies in the region, who are only now starting to democratize. We can contribute to democratization and modernization in Pakistan and other countries.

Source: The Connection with Dick Gordon, NPR radio Sep 8, 2003

American tourists in Cuba will end Castro

The way to deal with Castro is to send Cuba American tourists, American goods and American farm products. There could be no better way to deal with this last vestigial form of Communism than to turn American business and American agriculture loose on them.
Source: Kirby Saunders in The Morning News Jul 23, 2003

We need to be talking to the North Koreans

We need to be talking to the North Koreans. They don’t want war. We don’t want war. But there are very few wars that begin by design. Most war begins as a result of miscalculation and accident and ratchet intentions that people aren’t smart enough to stop. And there is a risk in the situation in North Korea and our government needs to engage in that situation now. Not only working multi-laterally, but working bi-laterally with North Korea to turn off the tap on the nuclear weapons production.
Source: Speech to the New Democratic Network Jun 17, 2003

Rebuild European alliances-source of 50 years or prosperity

Let’s put the hard feelings aside on both sides of the Atlantic and start working together, because the simple message is that America’s greatest friends and greatest supporters are in Europe. If we remain apart-driven by some faulty notion of multi-polarity or a sense of anger, betrayal, and “get even” spirit-we’re going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, which brought fifty years of peace and prosperity and stability to the United States and Western Europe. Let’s not give that up
Source: 22nd Annual Morgenthau Lecture, Carnegie Council on Ethics May 7, 2003

International institutions assist with US trade & commerce

The use of force has not changed the broader pattern of international affairs with which we must be concerned - American interests in promoting trade, travel and commerce abroad, encouraging the free flow of capital and ideas, and sustaining international institutions to ease the burdens of leadership in working difficult issues like trade and development, economic growth, the environment and security.
Source: Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Apr 8, 2003

International cooperation needs consensus-building mechanism

The full cooperation we seek is unlikely without an overall consensus-building mechanism, like NATO, to drive the process. It is hard enough getting the CIA and FBI to share information, even when both answer (in theory) to Bush and Congress. Imagine how difficult it is to get cooperation among various US agencies and their counterparts working bilaterally with 20 different European countries, when each agency is competing with others.
Source: Washington Monthly, “An Army of One?” by Wesley Clark Sep 1, 2002

The US needs allies

In the twilight of World War II we recognized the need for allies. We understood the need to prevent conflict, not just fight it, and we affirmed the idea that we must banish from the world what Truman, addressing the founding of the UN, called “the fundamental philosophy of our enemies, namely, that ‘might makes right.’” Truman went on to say that we must “prove by our acts that right makes might.”
Source: Washington Monthly, “An Army of One?” by Wesley Clark Sep 1, 2002

Work with the International Criminal Court

I know that the worst-case analysis of the International Criminal Court is that American soldiers could be subject to whimsical or politically motivated charges, but the US intends to operate under international law. We helped build international law, we need international law. And we’ve got to find a way to work with this court and bring it around and make whatever modifications need to be made to it. I was subjected to a war crimes investigation in my role as NATO commander. It didn’t bother me a bit.
Source: CNN Late Edition interview with Wolf Blitzer Jul 7, 2002

Invest 3% of GDP on development assistance abroad

The US commitment of resources for development is necessary, and investing in developing countries should be a part of military strategy. American businesses are an important source of investment for development. Therefore, it is important that they do not shut down operations abroad. In addition, it is important to build institutional capacity by focusing on the judicial system, law enforcement, and education. It is also important to create cultural centers and promote exchange programs, in order to sell your ideas rather than sending in troops. The US invests about 3% of its GDP on defense; a similar amount should be invested on an equal kind of security-development, since both require planning and training.
Source: Speech at Center for Strategic and International Studies Nov 8, 2001

Shared risks, shared burdens, shared benefits

What I learned during my time in Europe was that in much of the world, freedom, human rights, international law, and the opportunity to ‘be all that you can be’ are strongest force in the world today. For the most part, these are our own American values.

Because we live and extol these values, the US enjoys a solid ethical basis for its power, a supportive community of like-minded nations and international institutions, and a moral force that extends our influence. Preserving these ideas & projecting our values should therefore be ranked among the most important of American interests.

Living up to our values will cost resources that could always be used elsewhere. We can’t do everything. But these burdens we must carry, if we expect to maintain the benefits we currently enjoy. They provide hope for others, and a purpose beyond our own prosperity. ‘Shared risks, shared burdens, shared benefits’-it’s not only a good motto for NATO, it’s also a good prescription for America’s role in the world.

Source: Waging Modern War, p. 461 Jul 15, 2001

Other candidates on Foreign Policy: Wesley Clark on other issues:
Incoming Obama Administration:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
State:Hillary Clinton
HHS:Tom Daschle
Staff:Rahm Emanuel
DOC:Judd Gregg
DHS:Janet Napolitano
DOC:Bill Richardson
DoD:Robert Gates
A.G.:Eric Holder
Treas.:Tim Geithner

Former Bush Administration:
Pres.George W. Bush
V.P.Dick Cheney
State:Colin Powell
State:Condi Rice
EPA:Christie Whitman

Former Clinton Administration:
Pres.Bill Clinton
HUD:Andrew Cuomo
V.P.Al Gore
Labor:Robert Reich
A.G.:Janet Reno
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Page last updated: Feb 25, 2011