NEW CANAAN — Addressing a packed house with 600 people in attendance, four-star Gen. Wesley Clark spoke about topics ranging from American foreign policy to the president.

“Just think about this,” Clark said during his speech at Grace Farms on April 25. “We invented most of the technology of the modern world and yet, when I look at Netflix, most of (the shows) are about dystopian futures.” The event was hosted by the Grace Farms Foundation and the New Canaan Library, the first time the local organizations have partnered together.

The former NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe gave an overview of history from American involvement in World War I to the present day. Throughout his speech, Clark emphasized American achievements in the last century, but also critiqued certain decisions like the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“We won the Cold War but when we won it, as a nation, we lost any semblance of a national strategy. Truth is, we only really have a strategy in America during a time of war,” Clark said.

Leading up to 2016, he said, Americans wanted a change and they saw that in Donald Trump’s campaign.

“Trump came in as a change agent. It was an unexpected win and he had no experience in government, but he had a lot of ideas and lot of experience in communication,” said Clark, who campaigned for president as a Democrat in the 2004 election. “People resonated to Donald Trump.”

The conversation between Michael Chen, strategic partner to the president of Grace Farms and member of the town’s Board of Finance, and the general centered on the latter’s 2014 book “Don’t Wait for the Next War: A Strategy for American Growth and Global Leadership,” his personal trajectory and human trafficking.

When asked how the issue of human trafficking should be addressed, Clark said those concerned and affected have to use social media to encourage self-reporting from around the world.

“We have to live our values; the greatest power America has is not its armed forces but its values. That’s why people look to us and come to us,” Clark said.

Among the attendees from New Canaan and surrounding towns were First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and the Minister of Finance of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze.

“I really liked the arrangement as it was intimate and didn’t feel like we were far away. People asked good questions and I liked the setup where he spoke first and then answered questions,” Norwalk resident Nanette Lewis said.

Another attendee focused on the general’s ideas.

“I had a lot of interest in what (Gen. Clark) had to say. He’s a true independent and I think his talking points were very good,” Michael Geller, a New Canaan resident, said.

humberto.juarez@hearst

mediact.com