It’s pretty unlikely now, but a “Clinton-Clark campaign” would have had a nice ring to it and a powerful punch. As retired four-star General Wesley Clark himself comments at a recent Clinton campaign rall, Mrs. Clinton can bring the economic understanding that is sorely needed right now. And of course, General Clark himself brings the military and foreign policy experience.
Cooler By the Lake gives a nice summary of the possible vice-presidential options by candidate, noting that Wesley Clark might be a likely pick if Hillary Clinton were the Democratic candidate. But wouldn’t he also be a good pick for Obama? Mr. George Sand on Arkansas Politics raised this idea quite a while back, and Bernie Quigley recently discussed a similar idea on his blog, noting that Clark has been an prolific and articulate in his opposition to the Iraq War.
Admittedly, I’ve been a Clark fan since before his 2004 presidential bid. In fact, I was one of those who called for him to join the race 2004, so I’m biased. But, my reasoning is that not only does he have comprehensive ideas for how the Iraq War needs to be resolved, his perscepective is well grounded in his experience as Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO during the Kosovo War. As he discussed in his book, Waging Modern War, many of his activities were diplomatic. So he has both the military and political experience in reasonably similar situations.
The current state with most politicians is to cast the options as a choice between immediate withdrawal or staying indefinitely. Both of these are ridiculous oversimplifications intended to create a wedge issue for Republicans and Democrats. In reality, it is a complex situation that needs a well thought out, sophisticated, mulitpronged response. General Clark has called for a comprehensive approach intended to establish a stable democracy. For example, from a speech last summer,
The military’s part of the solution. It’s not the answer. The answer’s the politics. The politics inside Iraq are not just people who are afraid. It’s not just a group of people who say, ‘Gee, if I just, if I could just let my kids go to school, I wouldn’t have to join a militia.’ Maybe there’s some of that, but there’s a lot more than that going on. This is a power struggle within religious factions. It’s a power struggle between religious factions. And it’s a geo-strategic struggle between different nations in the region–All playing out on the ground in forms of violence, intimidation, blackmail, corruption, payoffs, influence, healthcare, coaching, counseling, there’s no telling how many different intelligence agencies and means of action and influence from different nations are present in Iraq. It’s a whole lot more then the number of nations participating in our coalition.
Unfortunately for an Obama-Clark ticket, Clark has also been critical of Obama. Still, although he might not be a long-time friend of Obama’s, he could bring a powerful antidote to what is doubtlessly going to dog Obama—McCain’s widely accepted better understanding of the military.