Ten Points about Global Security
March 30, 2007
On March 30, 2007, Gen. Richard B. Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented "Up Front on the Future of Global Security," which contained the following excerpts:
- I don't think our way of life—our democracy, our freedoms—has been more threatened by anything since the Civil War than by violent extremism. Violent extremists use terror to instill fear. If you couple that with access to biological, chemical or fissile material, we have a very, very dangerous threat.
- This threat can't be handled the way we traditionally handle nation/state relations because extremists are not nation/state actors. We must organize ourselves differently, perhaps relying more on diplomatic, informational and economic instruments of national power. The United States can't do it alone. We must have partners. Like ending the Cold War, it will take decades.
- The trend of scarcity of resources—whether it be energy, food or water—will create potential flashpoints for instability or conflict in different parts of the world.
- Some nuclear weapons are not well secured. For example, Russia's old Cold War weaponry is still too available, though we been working with them to secure it.
- India and Pakistan have made great strides in resolving their dispute over Kashmir. But the issue is still emotional on both sides, which is frightening since both countries are armed. We must avoid a scenario where events might get out of hand.
- Despite what one thinks about the war in Iraq, those serving—the soldiers in uniform, the foreign service officers, the many Americans who have given up their jobs to go work for a year or two—are there for altruistic reasons: to give the Iraqi and Afghan people a leg up.
- A withdrawal from Iraq must happen slowly. We need to take steps back before the Iraqis are ready and before we think they're ready.
- There must be guidelines for responsibility and accountability for military outsourcing and contractors, especially in a place like Iraq where very robust rules of engagement for military forces still exist. We should have done a better job of spelling out the guidelines earlier.
- The dialogue today is focused on the issue of the moment— Iraq, the presidential election—but it's done in a way that it's not very enlightening. It's divisive, and I wonder how an American citizen can get all the facts to make informed judgments.
- I have great hope for this country because we are made up of great citizens. Whether you want to serve in a government agency or go into business and run for the local school board, I think the important thing is to participate in this democracy.