America's Place in the World

Role of the Military

April 30, 2020 General Tony Zinni & Adam P. Kennedy Season 1 Episode 13
America's Place in the World
Role of the Military
Show Notes Transcript

"The better angels in human nature seem to be coming out." You can be proud of the way Americans have responded to this calamity. Discussing crisis in the world and the coronavirus... this is the 'Role of the Military.' For more information, join US on Facebook -

spk_0:   0:00
I'm your host, Adam P. Kennedy. Welcome to America's place in the world. Teaching retired four star United States Marine Corps general, former U S. Special envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Tony's any. We're looking at the world and America's place in it. In this episode, we're discussing crisis in the world role of the U. S. Military Corona. It's coming up right now, sort of looking at, you know, again, crisis in the world and the role of the U. S. Military. What do you see as the world around us is facing this calamity? What is the role of the U. S. Military? How should it interact with the world?

spk_1:   0:49
Well, I think we may have to rethink that role. You know, basically, the role was support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now, obviously it was that charge and mission was written with a sense of some sort of nation state animated beginning. We soon soon learn that there were other things that threatened our security, and we learned that from extremism and non state actors and insurgencies. Then we learned that our well being is threatened by natural disasters, humanitarian disasters, and pretty soon the military found itself With this sort of expansion of missions, I think you might have to legitimize that and prepare a military to take on more broader requirements. We see with the comfort and the mercy, the ships, we see the medical personnel deploying. So you know, that might have to be a bigger capacity We have to build up. We might have to rethink how we structure the National Guard and the reserves to handle more of these kinds of things to and maybe not so much of a burden on the active forces that can still look toward there. Be prepared for more higher end, not higher and in terms of importance, but a higher in terms of military requirements to defend our country. So we may have to restructure and rethink. It may be also that we create other organizations that look like the military but don't have military missions, is such meaning warfighting, but have response missions to things like this. So maybe we need to build a network of new kinds of organizations that learned certain things from the military how to handle crisis and how do you stretch structure yourself. How do you plan? How do you develop intelligence but oriented toward, obviously a different kind of threat or set of threats? And maybe that's a different form of national service that we create to with a volunteer force, much like we have in the military to serve there. You know, it is an alternative to the military.

spk_0:   3:05
Yeah, it was interesting. You mentioned the National Guard, and obviously there been protesters, you know, in different parts of the country, talking about reopening, you know, the country. And I don't I don't really get a sense of how many protesters there really are. But if that grows, the those numbers grow and it turns violent. What role do you think, then? The National Guard, or even the again? The military should play in that situation if it occurs.

spk_1:   3:34
Well, I think you just make some smart moves and not letting it turned violent. I mean, if people are insistent there fighting to go back to work, if they go back to work and the risk that they're taking manifests itself the problems, I think it would be self correcting. You know, uh, you know, look at these meat plants where workers refused to go to work. So somebody could say, I know I'm going to go back to work. Well, if you go back to work and your plant starts that has 50 cases and they're starting to spread, you will be working too long.

spk_0:   4:07

spk_1:   4:07
know s so I mean, I don't see. I mean, I don't see where violent confrontation has to come about because of this, you know, you're going to create large segment rise of right now the largest segment of our population that are resistant to this. And so you may say I'm going back to work and I'm going to open up my Kim. If nobody comes to your gym, all you've done is is grated ill will that a goodwill. So even when it gets fixed, that will be remembered, you know? So I mean, I would be gentle in terms of how you enforce this. People have the right to to assemble, but if they're going to do it in a way that threatens each other, I almost see this is self correcting. If if they misjudges

spk_0:   4:55
interesting, Okay, if America stays in lock down. But other countries around the world open up. Germany is starting to do some things people want to come to the United States. Do you get a sense that we would just still continue this Not not to allow foreign citizens to visit the United States?

spk_1:   5:15
Well, I think in the short term, they're probably not gonna be able to visit, you know, probably with some exceptions, that there were doctors, nurses who want to come here. We would. As we ease into this and we start open up to travel, we probably have to look at a zoo. People come in doing checks at airports and that sort of thing just to make sure no one's coming in, that it is, that has the virus. You know, until we get universal vaccine or something else that treats us, then we could look a card to show you vaccinated or whatever.

spk_0:   5:46
If we have, you know, there have been reports that certainly in different parts of world South America that you know, certain authoritarian governments of sort taking advantage of the virus and cracking down mawr. Uh, in terms of even the explosion of more corruption, do you again? Do you think the role of the U. S. Military. If things got out of hand in in different parts of the world, what should our role be?

spk_1:   6:14
I don't think we we would deploy the military toe Keller corruption in some other part of the world. I mean, I find it hard to believe that if you know, if in Bolivia they're cracking down, there's problems there. They're gonna work Venezuela, and we're gonna suddenly send the Marines, resolve it. I mean, that's the 19 twenties, 19 thirties banana war scenarios. I don't think we would do that.

spk_0:   6:40
Okay, so do you see, in terms of other countries, military in terms of their dealing with the virus, Are there any militaries that are sort of doing very good work or some more active in trying to control the virus and in terms of the people or not necessarily?

spk_1:   7:00
Well, it's hard for me. Oh, really? Uh, to really get a handle on what the military is doing, I mean, what I see from news reports, I see, like Italian military, the Spanish military, French military out there, you know, basically augmenting police work and that sort of thing, you know, that could be done. We had to be very careful with that. There's obviously laws we Posse Comitatus and others how we use. But we have a history that I mean, When the Rodney King riots were in L. A military active duty military forces were deployed, even going back in our history when they used to be male robberies, they put the Marines on the trains and make sure the mail got through. You have within the states the governor's can activate. National Guard is the first line of augmentation and support. So you know, I think there's precedent for that, and I think the military can handle it. I don't see this pushing toward anything like martial law or use of the military in the streets, and it is a matter of fact. I'm pleasantly surprised that majority things I see is that the better side, the better angels. Human nature seemed to be coming out, not out. Not always not in every case, but they seem to be there seems to be more appreciation were those that are serving on the front lines of this our healthcare people. There seems to be more people willing to help each other more compassion. Remember from what I see that far outweighs the negative parts. I see. You know, people trying to run scams and other things like that. Eso at least right now I mean, I would say him You can be proud of the way Americans have responded to this, especially since it hit us out of the

spk_0:   8:44
blue. So I'm curious, and it's sort of speculation, but the in terms of the morale of the U. S. Military around the world, people being deployed not be able to come home. Would you say, How would you sort of rate them around if you could take a guess?

spk_1:   9:02
Uh, in the US,

spk_0:   9:04
Yeah. The U. S. Military. US? Yes. You know, around the

spk_1:   9:08
world, especially if you're sort of, ah, confined Teoh, you know, a ship or something like that to be very careful, But, you know, my sons in the military and he goes to work every day and, you know, on the basis they seem to have control, you know, they have identified a central personnel. They're taking the steps in terms of the the distancing and the mass and everything else. So, you know, in many ways of militaries, because of the structure and the height. Things work there. They're much better able to enforce and get compliance with the measures that help them in that way. So I don't see any major, you know, concern. I think maybe if you're on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Pacific, that might be a different story. And to be really careful with those kinds of situations,

spk_0:   9:58
Okay, I'm curious. You know, there's, um there now seems to be a growing disparity between even more so between the rich and the poor and health care and people having just greater issues in terms of food and being hungry again is there. And you were involved in a variety of missions to support people around the world. Do you see us again doing anything in terms of that humanitarian aid that the military might carry out, sir?

spk_1:   10:29
Yeah. You know, first of all, I think you know you. The problem here is probably the retail. And I mean, farmers were still producing. And, you know, truck drivers still have trucks and we still have trains that can. The distribution system can probably operate effectively. It doesn't require a lot of people coming together, it could be managed in some way where it says, protective as it can be, where we really where this really falls down? Is that your retail in, You know, going to the grocery store. People panic and over by People don't want to go there because there's the fear of gathering and place. Employees don't like working in that kind of environment, so the military can affect a different kind of distribution network, especially for the areas where people are maybe more desperate because of losing jobs, not having a health care safety net. That's that's really viable. So yeah, that that can be taken certainly assist in that. But I would say there's a lot of parts of our of our normal structure that you just have to organize, You know, I mean, like I said, we still have farmers that are growing things. We still have trucks that and Dr it's it's, you know, that they're not going to be doing anything different than the military would be doing. It just got to be mobilized and organized in a way to do it and then at the retail, and you have to find a different distribution node mechanism for that, too. You know, you see these long food lines which probably says you don't have enough in the way of distribution centers for that sort of thing. Those were all Turner's that aren't necessarily bound up with the military. Military in a short term certainly can help with that. What, you want to get out of that kind of emergency mode and into reestablishing losing the things that we have normally in our economy, the non military things, getting them back eventually. When you get out of this, they're gonna You want them to be able to continue to function.

spk_0:   12:31

spk_1:   12:31
I'm running a trucking company, you know, I would like to keep keep going, to keep doing business, even if it's a reduced level and totally be pushed aside. Nous goes over to a military,

spk_0:   12:42
Yes, okay, in terms of assistance overseas, I guess. One estimate was there 235 million people who are hungry Now, by the end of this year, that could double a certain parts against South America and Africa. India. I mean, would you see that Ah, we might do some sort of humanitarian aid via the military

spk_1:   13:04
uh, I mean, I could see that. I think you know, I mean, obviously, we need to be sure we're, uh We're getting a handle on our own internal situation here because it's not gonna be We're not gonna be able to help others until we get a firm footing in control here. But at the same time, we can't ignore what goes on the rest of the world. This is a planetary problem. It's not a It's a global issue, not just a U. S issue. So I think it's critically important that we reach out and we share information. Ah, we help and share the things that people need to recover. I mean, as we have less requirement for things like ventilators and PP equipment and that sort of thing that we begin to share these things. And as we ramp up production share because this is a global problem, it's not going to help us If you know, we we basically resolve our issues here, but still around the world, this thing is, is existing and can can come to our shores pretty quickly. Um, and that's going to have an economic impact to because it's a global economy, not a national economy.

spk_0:   14:15
Some curious. Do you see you talked about the goodwill that's happening here? Do you get a sense that America's relationship with Let's say, Russia or China could improve because of this catastrophe?

spk_1:   14:35
I think in theory it could, because it could show we're all in the same boat. Things that have no borders can easily affect all of us. It can only be resolved through international cooperation. I mean, we're seeing, uh, how much more we need the World Health Organization. And if there were problems and issues with it, outlet should be fixed for the benefit of the world. I also see how this could strain relationships because, you know, it's all sorts of issues with China yet that have to be resolved is how this was initiated, what was done in the early stages that have created problems. So we'll have to be sorted out so you know it. It can be an opportunity of people take advantage of it. It could be something that makes us appreciate. We need the cooperation more to cooperate more, uh, and but it also could be something that generates more a sense of isolationism or blame or whatever, So it could be a two edged sword.

spk_0:   15:35
Who? What's your assessment of how just from what you've reading and watching, how Putin in Russia is sort of dealing with this?

spk_1:   15:45
Well, I think you're hiding a lot. I mean, you don't see much, but the numbers looked compared to other nations of the Gulf Lee load to me. So I wondered how no honest they're reporting was in the beginning. And then basically, from what I can be kept a low profile on this thing, you know, it's more have been focused in the Far East and the way to Chinese have handled this Japanese and South Koreans and others. That's been the focal point.

spk_0:   16:17
Interesting. So what do you Ah, it certainly is unusual for Putin to take a low profile. What do you think? Why do you think that is? If he had to speculate?

spk_1:   16:29
Well, I think in many ways they have a They have a lot of internal problems, economic and otherwise, and you know, this. This sort of distracts them from maybe global adventurism that they might have normally been up to. So, you know, I just think, uh, he's probably turned to. It's just cause issues with their economy to which wasn't read shape. So, you know, he had to turn inward more than look outward. And in terms over Halle interacts with us and others.

spk_0:   17:04
So I had asked you about we talked about, Ah, the administration and them potentially rebounding. Where do you see China at this particular point? Do you feel that they're more transparent?

spk_1:   17:16
Oh, no,

spk_0:   17:17
I don't feel they're. They're

spk_1:   17:19
transparent at all. I think there I think of anything they're becoming were cagey about what they release him, but they control. I mean, there's some big questions about these labs Wuhan and what they were up to and what they're rolling this might have been and their initial reporting and how much they shared early on and or covered up. So I think there's gonna be a lot of internal I think questions asked, uh, and how they adjust to all this and maybe some awareness that greater international cooperation has toe happen. And how did they do that? You know, when they when they tend to be a very controlling society and not liking to see information being shared or things to come out that might embarrass him, at least in their mind. So you know this is going to have tremendous economic impact on them. Obviously, when economies shut down, that was which was a growing economy. And, like I said before, was basically housing to supply chains for the world. All of a sudden shuts down. It has an immediate impact. But then, too, when we come out of this, others may feel I don't want to put all my eggs in that basket anymore and so might have a longer term economic impact on them

spk_0:   18:42
in terms of Hong Kong, do you think ah, is China taking advantage of the virus in terms of trying to implement more restrictions on Hong Kong?

spk_1:   18:54
Oh, yeah, I'm sure there they're looking at that. This is a possible opportunity where people may be distracted on were wound up in this to take measures. I think there were some arrests that were made that might not have been made in the previous atmosphere, So I think that they'll look a crisis and opportunities they may present to get better control on things like the reactions in Hong Kong.

spk_0:   19:21
Are there any countries that you feel are doing an exceptional job in terms of handling the virus?

spk_1:   19:29
Well, I mean, I've heard, uh, anecdotal things on on the news about certain countries managing a well, it seems to me these were countries Some, um, had the advantage of sparser population density and, you know, maybe not over reliance on urban areas for their economy toe function. Some of them made good decisions early on. Some have had, uh, you know, really effective health care systems that were able to manage their home problems. But I think we have to be careful, not equate all these on the same level and say, You know, this. This country did badly. This country did well without looking at all the factors, including demographics and structure, that is, to the economy, dependencies in that sort of thing. So, you know, it's just like looking at our own states, and we can see the difference is already and within our own country. And I think those differences may even be greater in terms of looking at things globally.

spk_0:   20:33
So I'm curious. We talked last month about the Middle East. What is your take on Saudi Arabia and Cutter and you A in terms of how they're handling all of this.

spk_1:   20:46
Well, they had a double whammy, I think, in terms of the Corona virus, they were on it pretty quickly. Again. They have a lot of. They have a lot of wealth and sparse populations, which is an advantage there. Smaller countries they had to worry a lot about, especially places like U A. E and Cutter and those places that have a lot of transients come through and you are effectively, uh, international commerce centers. But they got another shot in terms of the situation with oil, and that, obviously is the need for it dropped away off. Nobody driving around too much in the world. And because of that, you know, they didn't drop production on, so they're producing it and and shipping it out. And on the other end, people that we're normally on the receiving end have no place to put it and no way to to sell it. So that's rolled back on the price per barrel, which affects him. So they've had a not only the same economic and health issues that others have had, but it's been compounded by the oil situation

spk_0:   21:58
So in terms of reopening the world, how does one you look at some of the larger countries in the world? You look at India and obviously talked about China. But you look at that part of India and Pakistan. Um, how comfortable do you think we should be that they're they're able to sort of handle their situation? Well,

spk_1:   22:24
I don't think it will be able to handle it. Well, I think they're gonna be fortunate if they can get through this and come out with any kind of reasonable maintaining of their economy and ability of their health care system to manage is especially in the future, if there's a recurrence or a rise in some way, these places that don't manage it as well as may be developed countries do we're going to get further isolated from the developed world. And at that point, if the developed world ends up coming out pretty well, it's gonna be move us like we mentioned before to help others because this is a global problem, and we'll come back to bite us if we don't. So you know, if the developed world ends up finding the magic vaccine or whatever It is just like polio that the importance was that everybody needs to get the polio shots in order to kill it. And after a while, when we stopped this sort of 100% polio vaccination because some people, for their own belief systems and everything else didn't do it, we saw resurgence. And then that could happen. Here it's going to be requirement to help with education, providing a resource is and health care, support and that sort of thing into the developing world.

spk_0:   23:40
That's interesting that you raise an interesting question then that mean they're almost eight billion people in the world.

spk_1:   23:47
Seven points?

spk_0:   23:49
How how are we going to, I mean, the economic strain to vaccinate the entire world? Is that possible?

spk_1:   24:03
We did it with polio. You know, it's when people got lax and stopped getting their polio shots and allowed it to flare up again. And, you know, if we developed the vaccine and we pretty much distributed the universally least, you'll have it available that if a hot spot begins to grow, you could immediately, you know, deployed to the hot spot and try to cut cut it off before it spreads on. Guy like what Dr Fauci said. It doesn't have to be a vaccine. This could be a spray or it could be a pill or could be something much more easily distributed. And, you know, we would hope maybe we could find more easily deployable medics and means to do this.

spk_0:   24:48
And is that something that possibly the U S military could be involved in in terms of if we had a vaccine or something of that nature to help?

spk_1:   24:58
I think you get the mindset that a bunch of U. S Marines flight Kenyan start given shots, but you could you could provide the support and the medical training and have them do it. I mean, they have militaries and police and everything else too.

spk_0:   25:12
Right? Where do you see this? In terms of of Africa? Well,

spk_1:   25:18
I think Africa has the greatest potential for this becoming rampant in spreading pretty quickly because it it doesn't have the medical infrastructure that again, that you see in other parts of the world. So if this if this begins to rise at the levels we've seen in some places in the world, in Africa it can be much more dangerous. And in its ability to spread throughout the continent. That's why places where maybe this hasn't spread is extensively. Once the developed world gets control of this, we need immediately help them stem any kind of spread in places like ever.

spk_0:   26:01
So what are the silver linings? If any beauty talked about the good will here in America? But are there any other silver linings? Let's say on a, uh, national level foreign policy level that we could sort of take place. And I think

spk_1:   26:18
there's gonna be some serious lessons learned come out of this. Our ability to manage graces crises has not what it should have been. But I have to look at that. And, ah, how we do better in the future, I think a realization that when it comes to pandemics and the potential FAM pandemics the need for a greater international or globalised system toe monetary Teoh analyzes toe respond to it. You know, look at places like that World Health Organization and others that might have to play a bigger role. I think in many ways it gives us an appreciation for our fragile We are you know, sometimes we think we dominate the universe and suddenly realized that one little crazy color virus that you can't even seek and devastate your entire species. So I think that's sobering and in many ways could make us more appreciative of ah, what we have and how we need to preserve it. Because that could even go over to re looking it. Things like the environment and climate change and maybe more sobering understanding of the impact of things that can have global effect. So I think there's something to come out of this, unfortunately, because of negative reasons. But he could give us pause and make us rethink. You know, that we aren't as invincible as we think, and

spk_0:   27:46
we need

spk_1:   27:46
to rethink how we deal with these problems and how we help each other. In many ways, it's going to require us, for a while at least, the restructure our social interactions and out legal about those.

spk_0:   28:00
So you had mentioned the World Health Organization. I'm curious about the United Nations. Do you see we come out of this? Do you see that the role of the U. N could be greater or more influential or or diminished? Sir?

spk_1:   28:14
Well, I think people misunderstand the United nations. The people always think of the United Nations is, you know, an entity in and of itself that makes decisions. It's 160 some countries, so it's basically supported by handful of developed countries. It's basically driven by a board of directors of the few countries that are in the Security Council. It's easy to beat up the U. N. And it's easy to the crazies. Look at it like they got black helicopters flying around their own entity and in and of themselves, which is not true. You know that. And so they're going to be whatever the world wants it to be, especially with what the major powers wanted to bay.

spk_0:   28:56

spk_1:   28:57
we have to think if you're a China, United States, Russia, you know, even some of the other countries like France, Great Britain and you know, the European countries and some of the others we have to rethink what we want in terms of a globalised entity that at some degree of capacity and

spk_0:   29:17
authority to deal with, thank you for joining us. Find us on Facebook as General Zinni, A P W and online at a p k c g dot com board Slashed A P W. I'm Adam P. Kennedy on This is America's place in the world