General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, in an interview with TV7
Host: Bulgaria has a key role in NATO and the Balkans. This is what General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, said speaking for TV7. Here is a special interview from Vienna, where he took part in the second annual meeting of the Centre for Global Dialogue and Cooperation.
General Clark said that Bulgaria’s clear position in NATO contributes to the stability of the country itself. The former NATO commander also comments that the oil cannot serve as an instrument of power, because the traditional energy sources have an alternative.
At the moment Wesley Clark is an investment banker and official representative of more than 70 US companies.
Wesley Clark: I think that using oil as a tool of power is very typical for the XX century. We are in the beginning of the XXI century but we have new technologies, we dispose of new methods for finding oil fields and we will spread these technologies all over the world.
We have renewable energy sources – solar power, wind power. We enjoy much more opportunities thanks to the hydropower engineering. But what is more important is that if we need oil and natural gas, we may find fields using new technologies. There are studies for oil and gas fields throughout the entire Europe and thus the idea that the countries may use the energy as an instrument for gaining power is outdated.
Nowadays we have new ideas and I believe that the most important formula is to treat people with respect and give them the freedom to realise their full potential.
At the same time the companies should be given more opportunities to do business and develop. However, the government should set the market rules and require the business to respect the people.
At the movement, here in Europe, we are witnessing the battle between the budget cuts and the economic growth.
Me personally, I think that the growth will win. This is the way to make it possible for the people to live in a way that will allow them pay their debts, while the bankers - to live in a way that will allow people live their life and do their job. This is the exact task of the government – to find the balance between the interests. And I think that the Europeans are good in this and they will do it.
Reporter: I guess you are following the situation in the Balkans and more precisely – the situation in Macedonia. Recently, we witnessed some escalating tension between the Macedonians and the Albanians after the Monstrum [English: Monster] operation. According to you, how will this process end up in the Balkans?
Wesley Clark: If you secure jobs, hopes and opportunities for the people and for their children, then the entire hostility and tension will disappear. I believe that people of different cultures, who speak different languages, may work side by side on common projects. If they have common interests to do it and if it depends on the governments, the European Union, the US and the international organisations, they should provide opportunities to make this happen.
Reporter: What are your expectations for the foreign policy of the US after the presidential elections?
Wesley Clark: I am happy that the troops withdrew from Iraq, and we are going to withdraw from Afghanistan, too, and this is something positive. Of course, the United States were a target of terrorist attacks and we should continue protecting the Americans, the American business and the citizens abroad from the people, who wish to do us harm.
In contrast to the US, the other countries are not carrying this burden of security, but I think that this will bear a serious effect on the economic development. I think that the European nations will create their own strategies for economic development and will learn from the developed countries.
What are the successful growth strategies? How can we unite resources, people and opportunities in one country? And how does this sell at the investments market? And how can be the international investment community attacked in these countries?
This is what we will see in the foreign policy in the next 20 years.
Reporter: According to you, what is Bulgaria’s role in NATO and Europe in the Balkans?
Wesley Clark: Bulgaria has always been a very good, loyal and devoted member of NATO. Yet in 1999 when there were operations of the allied forces Bulgaria was not a NATO member but the Bulgarian nation decided to back the Alliance. Then Bulgaria joined NATO, took part in training, the courses and the defence planning in the frames of the pact and contributes according to its means.
Thus, we are highly satisfied with Bulgaria’s participation.