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Democratic Presidential Candidate Clark Criticizes Bush Foreign Policy - 2003-11-21


Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark outlined his foreign policy vision in a blistering attack on the Bush administration.

If he were elected president, the former NATO Commander says he would rebuild alliances abroad and use military force only as a last resort.

General Clark says the use of pre-emptive force in Iraq has defined President Bush's national security strategy and has isolated the nation.

Speaking in a raspy voice from a sore throat that has plagued HIM?? much of his campaign, Mr. Clark accused the Bush administration of, in his words, "squandering" a foundation of moral authority that the United States has spent generations building.

"That foundation was built through our leadership in containing Communism, promoting human rights, and in helping the poor and sick, in promoting international law. That foundation has been badly splintered in a few short years. This administration has been all bully and no pulpit," he said.

Mr. Clark made his remarks at the private Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Most of his speech was devoted to his call for the creation of a new Atlantic Charter between the United States and its European allies to stress cooperation in combating the threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The Atlantic Charter was a statement of principles between former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill before the United States entered World War Two.

In addition to lashing out at Bush administration policy in Iraq, Mr. Clark described U.S. policy in Afghanistan as a series of "half-measures."

"Well, I think the administration's policy in Afghanistan has been a world class bait and switch," he said. "The president promised us Osama Bin Laden, dead or alive, but it seems clear from the record, at least from the portion that emerged, that even before the first bombs fell on Afghanistan, the administration was planning to go after Saddam Hussein instead."

Mr. Clark says he believes that with the help of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the United States can find al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden.

He also criticized the Bush administration's insistence on multilateral talks to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, saying Washington must talk directly with Pyongyang.

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