I'll let Al's environmental creds speak for themselves. There simply is no other world-class leader who knows more and cares more passionately than Gore about this profound threat to humanity itself. Wes Clark is one of the most sane voices out there specifically addressing the fact of an increasingly unstable and over-armed Middle east - and the Indian sub-continent and sub-Saharan Africa, not to mention that pesky North Korea. Unsurprisingly, these gentlemen have a common approach. Talk to people as rational actors who can be persuaded to act cooperatively in mutual self-interest because, you know, you really have no other long term strategy unless you're willing to destroy everything.
A few weeks back, I posted a long winded article on rhetorical frames for Democratic positions on Iraq, riffing off Jeffrey Feldman's Frameshop blog posts on the same topic. Of the three positions, Clark's made the most sense, though Feldman had deeper sympathy for the Feingold's "Just Say No" stance so dear to the left. Well, Feldman has reconsidered:
Clark: A Symbol Of Success In Regional Conflict Resolution
A while back I wrote a Frameshop article arguing that there are currently 3 competing frames in the Democratic party to define what the United States is doing in the Middle East. Of these three, the 'regional conflict' frame associated with General Wesley Clark is perhaps the most overlooked and undervalued.
But as the Middle East begins to look more and more like a regional conflict, the need for a strong Democratic voice that speaks to that dynamic is every more pressing.
The moral and pragmatic strength of diplomacy. Simply packing up and going home, as Gore, Clark, me and several million other Americans understand, is not an acceptable option. It is one of the deepest, most dearly held American fantasies - that we can retreat behind our ocean walls and leave the screwed up world to its own devices. 9/11 darnwell changed that.
The world is a set of interlocking regions and the US is a part of it. Trying to either stand astride the world (the neocon wet dream) or not be part of it (shared by both left and right fantacists) is not possible, and can only lead to harmful diminishment of the US. This will in turn diminish our shared world because the US plays such a large role in the global give and take of humanity.
We have obligations and cannot act as a self-centered super power, even as we must act as a self-interested one. We are ravaged by weather and by war. For the first time in history, we are the makers of both maelstroms. We need leaders unafraid to deal with other nations as partners in our struggle with both.