An ideal leader inspires you to believe in yourself and makes you accomplish things that you earlier thought were not possible. An ideal leader leads by example. He does not tell you what you have to be, rather he shows you by what you have to be, by being an exemplary figure for you. An ideal leader to me is like a father figure who inspires you, motivates you and leads you without wanting the credit for himself. His aim is that you do great things with your own name, and not his. And my interaction with General Wesley Kanne Clark made me believe that he was all this, and much more.
In March 1997, I was a young sergeant (E-5) assigned as General Clark's drivers aid in Panama. He was Commander in Chief of the United States Southern Command, Panama from June 1996 to July 1997. During this time, I only had two encounters with him. During each encounter he always treated me with upmost respect. He reminded me that it was my responsibility as a sergeant to lead other soldiers and helping them to reach their potential and the goals of the Army.
Let me introduce General Clark to you in a more formal manner. General Clark is a former four star American general and also served as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO from 1997 to 2000. Apart from that, in 2004 he was a democratic candidate for the President of United States of America. General Clark has a master's degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University, Britain. From 1969 to 1970, General Clark had the honor of serving for the American military in Vietnam. In view of his achievements and contribution to the American Army, he was awarded a purple star, a bronze star and a silver star. His military career was exemplary and flawless and earned him the respect of many. (Withers)
General Clark inspires me because of all that he has accomplished uptil now. He has multidimensional shades to his personality. Although he belongs to the military, he has one of the most prestigious educational backgrounds that a soldier can have. He was accepted at the West Point military academy at the tender age of 17 and there he reflected the immense potential that he carried, as a student and as soldier. He not only shined bright in academics but also in the field of athletics and other sports because of which he stood first in his class in 1966. In view of his excellent performance at West point, he was given the chance to do his Masters from one of the best universities in the world -- Oxford and was awarded the prestigious Rhodes scholarship. From the very beginning, General Clark was set to go great things both for himself, the military and his nation.
In the Vietnam War, from 1969 to 1970, General Clark served for United States of America in Vietnam. During the war, he was shot four times but this could not weaken his resolve to take his unit to victory. He continued to lead his unit despite all the injuries from the bullets. Because of injuries and his resolve to keep on serving the army, his condition became very critical and he was in admitted in a hospital in Vietnam for about two weeks. Afterwards, he was sent to United States, because his condition was still critical. During the war, General Clark set an example for his subordinates, an example to lead in a way that brings you glory and honor. He put his commitments to his country and his unit above everything else, even his life. (ElectionTV)
General Clark's military career is full of accomplishments and distinctions and it is a clear show case of his leading capabilities and his dedication to his nation. After the Vietnam War, he attended the Command and General Staff Officer course. During the course, he worked on a thesis that revolved around the political nature of the decisions taken during the Vietnam War. He was of the opinion that these decisions were politically motivated and the military strategists were not taken into confidence regarding the formulation of military tactics. However, despite the fact that he did not agree with these decisions, he never backed out of the war and did all that he could to fulfill all his responsibilities as a military commander. This tells us about the exceptional military acumen of General Clark and the respect that he had for his higher command. Although he knew that the decision being taken were not right, he never questioned them during the war. Instead, when he got a chance in the Staff Course, he presented his opinion in a formal and logical manner so that these mistakes could be avoided in the future.
General Clark also has important contributions in the Persian Gulf War when he served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army's National training centre. During his military career, he also carried out three emergency deployments to Kuwait. In view of his keen military acumen and dedication he was appointed the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This was a critical assignment and only the best performing and most sharp military men are appointed to this sensitive position in the Pentagon. During his tenure at the Pentagon, he developed an effective strategy for the U.S. military to safely exit from Haiti. Not only this, he was also an important participant in the Bosnian Peace Accords in 1995.
General Clark's military career reflects his leadership capabilities and sheer dedication to the country. He is somebody who has fought numerous wars for the homeland, and every time, he had new achievements to be proud of. He is not a brutal military man, instead he is an educated, well formed military person who had an eye for strategic details and through his effective planning and negotiation skills, he helped the country make critical strategic decisions like the move from Haiti and the Bosnian Peace Accord. All these achievements show the well rounded personality that he has and his multi-dimensional skills.
As the last bit of his military career and his final assignment, he served as the NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, which is again a very critical and strategic military position. This is exactly the same position that President Eisenhower had served on, before he made a successful bid for the office of President of United States. On this position, General Clark had all the military forces in Europe under his command and he led them in Bosnia -- Herzegovina with his characteristic dedication. However, it was also during this assignment that President Clark had strong disagreements with the pentagon. A lot of people believe that the strained relationship between Pentagon and General Clark was the result of General Clark's insistence to use ground forces to push the Serbs out of Kosovo, which Pentagon was extremely reluctant to do. This gives a very clear view of General Clark's determination, that he was even willing to stand up to the pentagon for something that he considered was right and fair. In view of his contribution to the nation and his resilience, He was awarded the "Medal of Freedom" by President Clinton. (ACORE)
General Clark was not only a keen military man, he was also a very good author who wrote books like "Wagging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo and the future of combat." The book was General Clark's opinion on how to devise strategies for fighting modern wars. The book made considerable sales, at least well above the expectations.
In 2002, General Clark announced his move into active politics in order to put his military and strategic experience to use. Some affluent American democrats and political action committees convinced General Clark to run for the office of President of United States because he has all the necessary hindsight, perseverance and experience to lead the American nation and make America a better place. General Clark decided to run for the 2004 Presidential Elections.
General Clark's presidential stance was simple and straight forward and was a clear reflection of his personal philosophy. He was pro-choice and pro-affirmative action and he had a new take on the war on terrorism. He formulated a new strategy on the war on terrorism and wanted America to change its stance. He was also against President George Bush's plan to cut taxes and he also formulated a new health care plan which made sure that everybody came under the umbrella of the plan. (Watch)
However, due to some critically wrong decisions about not campaigning in certain areas, General Clark could not make it to the President's Office. However, his keen interest in American politics was still there and he published his second book by the name of "Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism and the American Empire" in 2004.
Apart from his political involvement, General Clark is also a political commentator…