Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sam Nunn/Wesley Clark: Question on Raising Kaine - "Will Wesley Clark be Obama's VP?"

Quigley's comment: Sam Nunn represents an old school which might be considered a Democratic Council of Elders. David Boren, Sam Nunn and elders from both parties recently held a conference in Oklahoma to call for Mark Warner style "across the isle" politics. But more important, the Nunn/Boren group bemoaned the narrowness of both parties in foreign policy, particularly in nuclear proliferation. This group precedes Clinton/Albright/Holbrook policy which some in this older group considered ill-informed and naive. In '98 thereabouts when Clinton took a page from the Gingrich Contract with America and pushed Congress to advance NATO to Russia's borders when Russia was considered weak and broken, some in this group including George Kennan considered it " . . . a mistake of historic proportions." General Clark was not policy maker to this but he was chief of NATO at the time so he is associated with this group of policy makers through the Clinton administration.

The only candidate to agree with Nunn/Boren (and Henry Kissinger) and to support Nunn's position on nuclear proliferation at the Oklahoma meeting last month was Barack Obama. So there is a clear generational break between these two Democratic visions of foreign policy and here and in other ways, Obama harks back to Nunn and leaps over the Clinton/Albright generation - and Hillary's point of view on this which should come as no surprise is the same as her husband's. That is probably why Obama was endorsed by Susan Eisenhower, who was at the meeting in Oklahoma and who also called together the foreign policy elders like Kennan to oppose Clinton's NATO initiative (which 90 Senators voted for) on incursion into Russia's near frontier.

Sam Nunn has been mentioned as a possible VP for Obama. An Obama Presidency will almost certainly take a different foreign policy tack than the Reagan/Clinton direction which was primary the same (Kagan/Kristol).

General Clark has been critical of Obama on many occations, starting at the Daily Kos convention last summer, about the time he went to work for the Clintons. I don't see that he had any choice but to support the Clinton camp as Bill was his Commander-in-Chief and the important work Clark did in his life was with Bill's approval and sometimes with the disapproval of the army.

In my opinion the best work General Clark ever did in his life was in opposition to the war on Iraq from '04 to June '07. He opposed the war when few other men and women of his credibility, character and distinguished personal history did. He gave the Democrats a new track and kept them on that track until the war fever had passed. Among politicians, veterans and soldiers, he carried this point of view virtually alone, like a candle cupped in his hands, for quite a long time.

That work is not finished. In one of his books and in the Amy Goodman interview he did last year, Clark called for an investigation of the roots of the war on Iraq as he had heard from friends in the Pentagon that this invasion would take place long before it had been made public. This fully needs to be investigated if America is ever to find credibility with the world again and with our new generations. It is clear that laws have been broken, crimes have been committed and they would be war crimes. This is a very delicate task and requires women and men of the utmost character. These hearings should start with Wes Clark. (And Larry Wilkerson.)