Magazine article The American Prospect

Europe Can Change a Man

Magazine article The American Prospect

Europe Can Change a Man

Article excerpt

IF, AT THE BOSTON "AMERICA Rocks the Vote" debate on Nov. 4, retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark looked a bit like Dieter from Saturday Night Live's "Sprockets" in his quasi-existential all-black ensemble, it may have been because the former supreme allied commander of Europe spent many of the last 34 years living and conducting diplomacy among Continentals prone to such fits of style.

More than any other candidate running, Clark is a true internationalist--and he hasn't been afraid to show it on the campaign trail. "I like French wine," he told young professionals at a New York fund raiser in September. "I like European cuisine."

But the most interesting part of Clark's European sojourn isn't just how it convinced him of the need for a multilateralist foreign policy; it's the effect his years in Europe have had on how he sees American society, up close and personal on the campaign trail.

In the late '90s, Clark lived in the 19th-century Chateau Gendebien in Mons, Belgium. "It was a magnificent Flemish-style chateau," he wrote in Waging Modern War, "set on twenty-three acres with a wide lawn, circular drive, several two-hundred-year-old trees, three greenhouses, five gardeners, a tennis court and newly renovated interior fixtures. …

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