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Wesley Kanne Clark

Wesley Kanne Clark is an American politician, a retired four-star general of the U.S. army, a former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO,led military negotiations for the Bosnian Peace Accords in Dayton; commanded three companies to combat in Vietnam.

He was a candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2004.

Background

  • Wesley Kanne was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 23, 1944. He was the only child of Venetta and Benjamin Kanne. Clark's father's family was Jewish; his paternal great-grandfather immigrated to the United States from Belarus in response to the Pale of Settlement and anti-Semitic violence from Russian pogroms. His mother was a Methodist. Benlamin Kanne was a prosecutor, a veteran of World War I, and a Democratic politician. Venetta was a homemaker. After Wesley’s father died when Wesley was three years old, he and his mother moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas. She worked at a local bank and eventually bought a house with her earnings and her deceased husband’s military service benefits. In 1954, when Wesley was nine, Venetta Kanne married Victor Clark. Victor Clark adopted Wesley, and his name was changed to Wesley Kanne Clark.

  • Education

    • Clark graduated from Hall High School with a National Merit Scholarship in 1962 and later this year entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1966 at West Point and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where he obtained a Master's degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1968. He later graduated from the Command and General Staff College with a master's degree in military science (1974-1975). He also is a graduate of the National War College, Armor Officer Advanced and Basic Courses, and Ranger and Airborne schools.

      He speaks four languages fluently—English, Spanish, German, and Russian.

    Career

    • Clark served in the Vietnam War from May 1969 until February 1970.He was shot four times in February 1970 while on patrol as captain of his mechanized infantry company. Despite his wounds, he continued to command his unit and issued orders that successfully allowed his soldiers to overrun the enemy. Clark spent two weeks at a hospital in Vietnam and then returned to the United States for recovery. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star as a result of his performance under enemy fire and was given a Purple Heart for his injuries.

      Clark’s military career involved multiple commands and spanned three decades. After Vietnam, he attended the Command and General Staff Officer Course, where he wrote a master’s thesis critical of air strikes in Vietnam that were influenced more by political decisions in Washington DC than by military planners in the middle of the action. He commanded battalions in Colorado and Germany and then acted as the commanding general of the U.S. Army’s National Training Center during the Persian Gulf War.

      As the commanding general of the First Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, he conducted three emergency deployments to Kuwait.

      In 1994, Clark was named director for strategic plans and policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with responsibilities for worldwide U.S. military strategic planning. It was there that General Clark insisted that the Pentagon develop an exit strategy for the 1994 invasion of Haiti. In 1995, General Clark traveled to the Balkans as the military negotiator in a U.S. effort to end the war in Bosnia, playing a vital role in the Dayton peace talks. As Supreme Allied Commander and Commander in Chief of the United States European Command, from July 1997 to May 2000 Clark commanded Operation Allied Force, NATO's first major combat action, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

      Clark broke with the Pentagon during his role as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. There has been speculation that his close alliance with the Clinton administration contributed to this resentment within the Pentagon. Also, Clark disregarded the Pentagon’s reluctance to consider publicly the use of ground forces to push the Serbs out of Kosovo during the bombing campaign and made public statements of their necessity. His retirement may have been the result of these actions. In 2000, President Bill Clinton honored Clark’s service to the nation and the world by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

      After retiring from the military, Clark joined Stephens Inc. as a consultant in July 2000 and served as Managing Director, Merchant Banking from 2001 to 2003.

      As a civilian in 2001, Clark published Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat. The book examined the new realities of planning and fighting a war. It was well received and outstripped sales expectations.

      In 2002, Clark met with affluent New York Democrats to discuss a presidential run. In 2003, a grassroots movement to promote Clark’s candidacy led to the founding of the website, DraftWesleyClark.com, by John Hlinko and Josh Margulies. Clark subsequently received more grassroots support via the site DraftClark2004.com, founded by a Political Action Committee formed to convince Clark to run.

      He announced his first bid into politics from Little Rock on September 17, 2003, running for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. The Internet strategy was successful in raising money, but time for planning a run was limited. Clark was a centrist candidate who supported the pro-choice and affirmative action initiatives. He called for the repeal of the George W. Bush tax cuts and promoted a new national healthcare program and the restructuring of the “war on terrorism” through improved relationships with other countries.

      Clark was the top Democratic candidate until a decision not to campaign in the Iowa caucus allowed Kerry the momentum to pull to the forefront, with Howard Dean close behind. Clark fell to third and took third in the New Hampshire primary. He was first in the Oklahoma primary, third in Tennessee, second in Arizona, and a remote third in Virginia. After defeat in the South, he stepped down from the race on February 11.

      Clark’s second book, Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire, was published in 2004. This book, which analyzes the U.S. war strategy in Iraq and the battle against terrorism, includes scathing indictments of the Bush administration’s policies and war strategy. It sold well compared to similar books.

      Clark joined UCLA as a senior fellow at the Burkle Center for International Relations in UCLA’s International Institute in 2006, where he teaches seminars, publishes through the Burkle Center, and hosts an annual conference of government, corporate and opinion leaders from around the world on national security. Clark currently serves in leadership positions with a number of non-profit public service organizations, including City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock (Board Chair), the International Crisis Group (Board Member), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Distinguished Senior Advisor), the Center for American Progress (Trustee), the United States Institute of Peace (United Nations Task Force Member), VoteVets (Board of Advisors), and the General Accountability Office (Advisory Board Member). He also serves as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative’s Energy & Climate Change Advisory Board and ACORE’s Advisory Board.

      Clark is president and CEO of Wesley K. Clark and Associates, a consulting firm located in Little Rock, formed in March 2003. Clark also provides commentary to FOX News as a military and foreign affairs analyst. He previously provided commentary to CNN. He also serves on the board of directors of BNK Petroleum.

      In June 2012, it was announced that Clark would host a reality show on the NBC network called Stars Earn Stripes, featuring celebrities performing military-style challenges. The show, which premiered in August 2012, lasted only four episodes. Clark and his wife, Gert, filed for divorce in 2012. Since July 2012, Clark has been serving as advisor to Romania’s prime minister, Victor Ponta. Clark is also vice chariman of the board and senior veterans advisor for the Grilled Cheese Truck Inc., a financially troubled company that recruits veterans to run its franchises.

    Major achievements

    • During his 34 years of service in the United States Army, Clark rose to the rank of 4-star General and NATO Supreme Allied Commander. He is the recipient of numerous U.S. and foreign military awards, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. In August 2000, Clark was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. In September 2003, he answered the call to stand as a Democratic candidate for President of the United States, where his campaign won the state of Oklahoma and launched him to national prominence before he returned to the private sector in February 2004

    Works

    • Author: Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo and the Future of Combat, 2001, Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism and the American Empire, 2003. Co-author (with Tom Carhart): Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country, 2007.

    Politics

    He decided he was a Democrat because "I was pro-affirmative action, I was pro-choice, I was pro-education... I'm pro-health care... I realized I was either going to be the loneliest Republican in America or I was going to be a happy Democrat."Clark said he liked the Democratic party, which he saw as standing for "internationalism", "ordinary men and women", and "fair play".

    Party affiliation: Democratic Party

    Religion

    Born Jewish, raised Baptist and converted to Catholitism around the time he married in 1967

    Membership

    Senior fellow at the Burkle Center for International Relations in UCLA’s International Institute. City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock (Board Chair), the International Crisis Group (Board Member), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Distinguished Senior Advisor), the Center for American Progress (Trustee), the United States Institute of Peace (United Nations Task Force Member), VoteVets (Board of Advisors), and the General Accountability Office (Advisory Board Member). He also serves as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative’s Energy & Climate Change Advisory Board and ACORE’s Advisory Board.

    Clark is president and CEO of Wesley K. Clark and Associates, a consulting firm located in Little Rock, formed in March 2003. Clark also provides commentary to FOX News as a military and foreign affairs analyst. He previously provided commentary to CNN. He also serves on the board of directors of BNK Petroleum.

    Connections

    • Married to Gertrude Kingston in June,1967. They have 1 son and 2 grandchildren.
    • spouse: Gertrude Kingston
    • child: Wesley Clark Jr. - screenwriter
      Lives in Los Angeles with his wife Astrid
    • Grandson: Wesley
      Born on December 25, 2003
    Wesley Kanne Clark
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    Born December 23, 1944
    (age 72)
    Nationality
    • 1968 - 1970
      Served in the Army in Vietnam
    • 1975 - 1976
      Served in the Ford Administration as a White House Fellow and worked as a special assistant to the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
    • 1997 - 2000
      Nominated by President Clinton to be Supreme Allied Commander of Europe and Commander-in- Chief of the U.S. European Command.
    • 1999 - 1999
      Kosovo. NATO begins its effort to stop the Kosovo conflict.
    • 2000 - 2003
      Clark retires from the military and joins the Washington office of the Stephens Group Inc., an Arkansas investment banking firm, on 7/5/00. He left Stephens in 2003 to open his own consulting firm.
    • 2001
      Clark becomes a military analyst for CNN
    • 2003
      Clark formally enters the race at a campaign rally in Little Rock.

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    Yulia Zankevich

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