Marc Ambinder had an interesting post yesterday looking at members of Wes Clark’s online community who are disgruntled by his support for Hillary Clinton. This, though, is precisely what makes his endorsement significant — he’s built up a political profile, especially among online political activists interested in national security issues, that’s substantially different from Clinton’s image in that universe. Thus, of course, some Clark fans are going to be upset at his actions. But by the same token, his words have some chance of changing people’s thinking. People in the know realize that this wasn’t a particularly surprising turn of events, since Clark’s long been in Clintonish circles, but anything that reaffirms that status still helps her, blurring the idea that Team Clinton is composed of people who got Iraq wrong while Team Obama is full of people who got it right (there’s also Sandy Berger who had an Yglesian too little, too late position but he presumably nobody would appoint him to a job in light of his legal issues).
Be that as it may, yesterday afternoon General Clark’s book, A Time to Lead arrived at my house, and I have blurb envy. We’ve got Bill Clinton on the cover, and the back features Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Javier Solana, and Al Gore. Plus Walter Isaacsoon, Mario Cuomo, Douglas Brinkley, and Donna Brazile, which actually struck me as overkill.
At any rate, I’m not going to pretend to have read the whole thing, but I did skip to the last chapter and found these wise words capping some remarks on Iraq:
But I want to underscore that I am not calling simply for an American pullout. I am calling for a fundamental revision of the aims, methods, and circumstances of the American effort in Iraq, and within the region. What we need is a principles-based approach emphasizing unconditional dialogue, mutual respect for borders and national sovereignty, the peaceful resolution of disputes, non-interference in the international affairs of other states, and strict adherence to international law. Using these principles as a basis for settling disputes and establishing new relationships will require arduous effort on our part. Yet it is the only basis on which Iraq and other vexing problems — whether it be Iran’s nuclear aims or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — can be resolved.
It goes on quite brilliantly on this subject for a while. Waging Modern War was a great book, too.