By Mick Krever, CNN
“If you really want to end the bloodshed over [in Syria], I guess there’s two ways,” Former American General Wesley Clark told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“You could let him finish the job,” Clark said, creating millions more refugees, expanding the violence and sectarian warfare, and giving Iran more power, as he put it. “It’s a very short-sighted way to think you can stabilize the situation.”
The other way, Clark contended, is to “put the pressure on Assad.”
Clark has some experience forcing a strongman’s hand.
In the late 1990s, as supreme allied commander of NATO, General Clark led the bombing campaign of Kosovo that forced Slobodan Milosevic to the negotiating table.
Now, as Assad shows little sign of abating his fight to hold onto power, Clark says that it’s critical the U.S. use all the leverage it can get out of its plans to arm Syria’s opposition.
“Assad should want to negotiate while he’s winning. Right now. Before the leverage has any effect on the battlefield,” Clark told Amanpour. “So for the United States, it’s about putting the leverage in now, and then keeping the leverage going in, torqueing it up, while the negotiations are on.”
Watch the above video to hear why Clark thinks it’s smart for President Obama to play his Syria strategy close to the vest.