The book comes basically in 2 parts - the assessment of the environment / risks, and then solutions. Nothing is surprising in the book, but General Clark does a really good job providing his invaluable perspective and insight into summarizing what's important. He goes into quite a bit of details on almost every part of the Globe, providing just about the right amount of information about various countries, regimes, cultures regions, etc. The details and nuances is where the real meat is.
Then when he switched to the solutions, I had mixed feelings, but it really made me think. At first I thought some of his ideas appeared idealistic and naive. But I kept reading because I have a lot of respect for General Clark. I realized reading between lines that as complex things usually are with world affairs, government and such, there is a certain simplicity in the story that is required to provide a framework, with more complex details and nuances to round it out. Firstly, his solutions centered around fossil fuel energy independence - specifically oil/natural gas for transportation and manufacturing - as we have plenty of coal (and natural gas plus nukes and hydro) for our power grid. His whole premises was predicated on our government taking a more active involvement drilling in this country to produce more oil and natural gas. This would improve our economic standing, which would in turn give us more power in the second part of the strategy which is to take a more active involvement in the economic and education development of many other countries as a strategy to create stability. He provided a lot of detail on that. This would also enable us to have more negotiating power with China, Russia, etc.
The second part of the strategy (economic assistance) made sense, but the first part of the strategy (oil and natural gas production) seemed at first glance to be absurd without some kind of strategy with regards to oil non-fossil fuels and electric vehicles (which require non-fossil electric energy production to be most effective). However, General Clark did bring up towards the end a little more detail on the overall strategy, and this is important - the need to first get our act together with strengthening our economic and world position by taking advantage of fossil fuel production domestically, which would put us in a better position long term for both alternative energy, and economic development. He didn't emphasize this enough, and didn't make that clear up front. Ultimately, most of our problems or any country's problems stems around energy sources. It's easy to overlook this simple fact, and not put it stage center - so General Clark indirectly made that clear.
However, the one key area where he felt completely short, in my opinion, is the feasibly of doing anything that makes sense with a government that has been destroyed by Wall Street & lobbyists, and a media that has been eaten alive by the Internet and a tabloid culture. We have NEVER and probability NEVER will take advantage of any kind of oil / energy "glut" (i.e. low prices). In the early 90's when prices were really low, we simply built a lot of oil sucking SUV's, instead of using that economic "surplus" to invest in long term alternative energy sources (Same with Saudi Arabia, but even worse - it's human nature). Our biggest challenge is not so much knowing WHAT do to, it's HOW to do it with a government that needs campaign finance reform and a media that no longer can afford to produce decent news because of the great unbundling (and dismantling) of the subsidies that stupid TV shows (e.g. Sitcoms) provided to respectable news organizations (News organizations now are scrambling for ratings, just ask Tucker Carlson - even if you hate them, who can blame them as they have to pay their bills). General Clark's ideas are really good, and I wonder who his targeted audience is, because pretty much nobody in the government will or is even capable of executing on any of this effectively. The scariest part is that China is highly capable of doing all these things specifically because they are NOT a democracy. And they will probably do many of these things, but with their own spin and their own objectives which are not subject to public discourse.
So the real challenge is the differences in the governing structures between the US and China, which is driven by that nebulous thing called culture. And that is the conundrum, and General Clark mentioned nothing about that. Which maybe he purposely avoided....