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Inside Politics

Clark: 'New curtain' falling between U.S., allies

Speech focuses on state of American alliances

From John Mercurio
CNN Political Unit

Clark addressed the Council on Foreign Relations Thursday.
Clark addressed the Council on Foreign Relations Thursday.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark offered a detailed critique of Bush's foreign policy Thursday in New York, saying the Bush administration has forced a barrier -- reminiscent of the Iron Curtain of the Cold War -- to fall between America and its allies in Western Europe.

In a 30-minute speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, Clark called for a new Atlantic Charter between the United States and its European allies to stress cooperation in meeting the threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

The original charter was a statement of principles reached between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt before the United States entered World War II.

Clark also cited as an example of Bush's failed leadership the two terrorist bombings that ripped through Istanbul Thursday morning, killing at least 27 and injuring more than 450.

The speech came as Bush was in London, where massive protests were held against his Iraq policy.

Clark, the former supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe and retired four-star Army general, noted that Churchill said 57 years ago that an "Iron Curtain" had "fallen across the heart of Europe," between the United States and its Cold War enemies. "Fortunately, in those fateful days, America listened to Winston Churchill. And we led the world to security and peace," Clark said.

Today, Clark said, a new curtain is falling between America and its friends. He focused on the state of American alliances, highlighting damage he says has been done by the Bush administration -- which he said "has been all bully and no pulpit ... has alienated our friends, dismissed their concerns, rejected their advice, and left America an isolated nation."

Clark then detailed how he would restore U.S. alliances in Western Europe, saying, "I will strengthen them so that we can solve problems together, so that the use of military force is our last resort, not our first, and if America must act with force we can call on the military, financial, and moral resources of others."

Clark also contrasted Bush's use of pre-emptive military force, which Clark said has defined the president's national security strategy, with what he called "preventative engagement" -- military, diplomatic, political and economic power.

He offered a "New Compact" with European allies. "Just as Franklin Roosevelt offered a New Deal with the American people, we need to offer a 'New Compact' with our European allies and the international community -- a new partnership that challenges us to cooperate more, while challenging them to do more," he said.

Clark said he would adopt a regional strategy to tackle North Korea's potential to develop into a nuclear power and the threat of war between China and Taiwan. He also said it is necessary to battle the AIDS "pandemic" and encourage democratic development in Africa, as well as deal with threats to democracy in Latin America.

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