whats changed? ah yeah, more bloodshed... http://www.cfr.org/publication/9845/iraq.html "... ACKERMAN: Okay. Now let's move the circle a little wider. Let's talk about when you were had such a prominent position in Europe and how does that fit into the whole equation? CLARK: Well -- ACKERMAN: Looking at the Europeans -- CLARK: The Europeans -- first of all, the administration has been on quite a journey, I have to say, and I'm not sure that they can arrive back at the right destination or not. But we left -- when I was the Supreme Allied Commander, we had a quite shattering experience with the Europeans in Kosovo. Even though we succeeded, it was a very painful success and it left bad feelings on both sides of the Atlantic. It left the Europeans feeling like they didn't want to be dominated by the United States again, and it left the Americans feeling like they didn't want to be hobbled by these weak-willed pusillanimous Europeans. You know, instead of capitalizing on the success and being proud of the linkage between military force and diplomacy that forced Milosevic out of Kosovo and stopped the ethnic cleansing, preserved our activities in Bosnia. Instead, the Europeans went about, you know, trying to build an independent European security and defense identity. And as Secretary Rumsfeld said to me shortly after 9/11, we'll never allow anybody to tell us where we can and can't bomb again. So it was sort of a painful recognition that our interests weren't converging, and it was a decision by statesmen and leaders on both sides of the Atlantic that they didn't want to put forth the effort to make those interests converge. It was a fundamental mistake, in my view, on both sides of the Atlantic. So it was normal, then, that after 9/11 that we told the Europeans -- I remember one guy from the Pentagon explained it to me. He said, no, he said, we don't need NATO involved in Afghanistan or anywhere else. I mean, these countries that are members of NATO, they're begging us to get involved. So if they want to give us forces, we'll take the forces -- (inaudible). But you know, they're coming to our headquarters; we're going to tell them what to do and, you know, we'll coordinate with them; they can put a liaison officer there. But we're not going through all this political stuff with the Atlantic Council and everything. So that was the thinking. And now the administration, I think, is realizing, albeit a little bit late, that it would sure be nice if they had the consensus engine of NATO to be able to take the United States out of the blame line as a unilateralist on these issues in the Middle East. But it's not clear that we can move ourselves back in a position, or NATO as a whole will accept this responsibility. Even in Afghanistan, where we're trying to transfer our forces over there, there's been a lot of hemming and hawing about what those forces will do, where they'll be stationed, who will provide those forces, how many there will be, what their technology is, what their rules of engagement are. And so this is a very tough process, and the way the administration's gone about it has made it much tougher. I don't mean that to sound like a partisan attack; it wasn't. I wasn't partisan when I started out. It's just a difference of strategy and difference of viewpoints in the world. We desperately need -- the United States -- needs help from our allies in Europe to deal with the Middle East. It's too big a burden for the United States to handle not because we don't have a good military -- we got plenty of military, we have plenty of money -- it's too big diplomatically. We should have other people engaged with us with the same common objectives dealing with countries. It's not a matter of outsourcing our diplomacy; it's a matter of having a unified diplomacy. It's about diplomatic throw weight. When we're dealing with Iran, we need the diplomatic throw weight of a Western world put together with Russia and China, not three European countries that are operating on a franchise agreement with the United States. The United States needs to be directly involved in those negotiations. And you know, I would have argued that some kind of framework was required, and NATO was, at one point, that kind of framework. So I think we need our European friends involved. I think we need a framework to do it. And I hope it's not too late. ACKERMAN: All right. Another part of the puzzle here is we've just had the Quadrennial Defense Review. CLARK: But, Peter, Peter -- but before you take me there, can I just say one thing? I think where, you know, my view may differ from a lot of people who are viewed to be critics of the administration is they keep calling for -- put those -- we want more forces in. They think it's about forces. They think it's about, you know, if we could just get 500 more Germans into Iraq it would make a difference or 500 -- any German or 500 Frenchmen on the ground or something. That's not really -- it's not about substituting one battalion of theirs for one battalion of ours. It's not about the manpower. It's about the commitment of the governments and the engagement. It's not about the forces on the ground, in my view. ACKERMAN: So 50,000 more forces in Iraq wouldn't change the situation materially? CLARK: It might have at a critical time, but right now, you know, it's moving on. It's not now 50,000 forces that's required. It's the commitments of these other governments to help us seek a C-minus solution. ACKERMAN: How does our C-minus solution work its way through the Quadrennial Defense Review and our force structure for the next five years? CLARK: Well, I think -- as I -- of course, I didn't have any participation in writing the QDR and I don't know all the discussions that have gone behind. I'm only reading what has been released of the QDR. But I've never subscribed to the long war theory, this sort of 40-year war. If the best the United States can do as a national strategy is go against terrorists in the Islamic world, and the way we do it is by invading countries, that's a long war that'll never end and that we'll never succeed in. It's not the right strategic framework for thinking about the United States in the world. It's the wrong strategic framework. Yes, we have to protect ourselves against terrorism. We know how to do that. It is fundamentally a matter of ideas first and last. It's persuading people that we can get along and we don't have to solve these problems by force. It is secondarily a matter of law enforcement, information sharing and intelligence activities, cooperation between nations to head off the proponents of violence. And third and last, as a last resort only, it may involve military operations. But one thing I learned in my experience is that if you want to fight, you can usually get a fight. If you're looking for a fight with people you can get one, whether it's in a bar in Manhattan or, you know, Friday night after a high school football game in Little Rock. All you have to do is go up to people and shove them, insult them and punch them, and most people have about the same amount of courage, about the same amount of tolerance, and most people can swing a fist about the same way. And when it's all said and done, you haven't proved too much and you probably haven't changed the situation. So if we want to move toward a larger war against a group of people who have different religious convictions, that's certainly possible to stimulate and create such a war. I think it would be a tragic mistake. I think the right framework for us, and the framework that goes beyond the QDR, is the framework of how do you help this country move forward in a global economy. You know, we've taken for granted the base of the QDR and the base of U.S. deterrence, and our whole national strategy in the 20th century was founded on an American superpower economically. We were the largest steel-producing nation in the world in 1900. We were the superpower in 1900. And we had the largest integrated market. We had enormous inflows of foreign capital. We were generating it ourselves. We had incredible untouched resources. And for a century, we were unchallengable economically. You can see that that's not going, necessarily, to be the case in the 21st century, and it's already having profound impact on the demise of the U.S. manufacturing industry, the loss of economic security for middle-class Americans across much of the United States, the change in employment patterns. And these changes will be even more pronounced, starker and more consequential in the future. We have to come to terms with this. The rise of China and to a lesser extent India as economic superpowers threatens America's idea and conception of itself. It threatens how we view ourselves, how we express our values. It could change our freedom of action diplomatically. It will certainly drive how we take actions with friends and allies around the world. That's the right framework in which you should address these problems.