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Trump Critic Gen. Wesley Clark Defends Threat to Tehran: Admin Understands ‘Risk of Consequences’

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ROUGH TRANSCRIPT:

Joining me is general Wesley Clark. I want to start with breaking news. President Trump just tweeted, warning Iran, that the United States has identified 52 Iranian sites and, quote, will be hit very fast and very hard if Iran retaliates. What’s your reaction to that?

>> It’s probably a good statement by the president. I think the administration understands that there’s a serious risk of consequences here. I think they understand it’s unlikely the Iranian regime will go now come hat in hand to the negotiating table, okay, you killed our number two guy, let’s talk, we’re ready to surrender. They’re not going to do that. He ‘trying to establish a warning, again, they better not attack. Given Iran’s politics domestically. The regime in Iran has handled itself, it’s probably going to have to hold its followers together but here’s the other thing, S.E. They’re looking at the United States, they understand our politics pretty well. President Trump understanding pretty well, because he accused President Obama in 2011 of wanting to start a war so he could be reelected. So they’re playing to the politics of the United States that strengthens the president when they strike us. There would be a lot of criticism that’s partisan. This could deter Iran. The odds are against it, but that’s a factor that has to be considered.

>> So I want to make sure we’re not overreacting or under-reacting of the I looked to you, the expert. You tell me, you know, people are talking about this setting off World War III. How likely is that?

>> You know, I wouldn’t say that this particular act is the trigger that immediately we go to World War III. This act might take us — probably takes us to a new phase in our 40-year struggle with Iran. We have been disproportionate in our response. So they’re going to want to retaliate then the question is what will we do? Then what will we do in response to that? The differences in operation versus the operation I led in Kosovo 20-some years ago, Serbia was a country of 10 million people surrounded by nations that wanted to be part of nato. Iran is a nation of more than 80 million. It’s too big, diversion, it’s too difficult geographically to ever think the United States will ever occupy that country. We didn’t do very well against a smaller country like Iraq. So we’re not going to go in there. After you pound it and so forth, what are you left with? At best a failed state, at worst a state that maybe they do have nuclear weapons. Maybe North Korea will give them nuclear weapons. Maybe Russia will come to their aid. — It’s dangerous.

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