Greetings and good morning from the very soggy western mountains of Maine, especially after some very wicked thunderstorms overnight.
As we find ourselves in the middle of another year with no shortage of challenges and upsets, I am reminded of what one student of history, the current UK CDS, posited: “The world is facing its 1937 moment but now instead of Hitler, the world has Putin”.
Putin is practicing full spectrum hybrid warfare on and off the battlefield, bringing everything into the fight and playing, I fear, a much longer game than Eastern Ukraine. While Putin is engaged in the West, in the East, Beijing’s overconfidence makes them weaker over time. Putin is gambling that he can exert enough pain and suffering that it leads to discontent on the streets and in election victories for those opposed to NATO. His strategy has been to divide countries internally and then divide them from each other.
We must remain resolute in our objectives and in our will. We must expand the coalition from “Government-to-Government” (G2G) to a more comprehensive “Whole-of-Nation” approach that is committed to preventing nuclear war and shutting down Putin’s play. When we reach a Whole-of-Nation approach at a coalition level, then much, much more is possible, particularly at a capability level.
Creativity, innovation, collaboration, and synchronicity will bring overwhelming capabilities to the fight and we can take the fight to Putin, separating the Russian people from him and his wealthy criminal enterprise.
On the Homefront, with summer barbecues and family reunions upon us, we should endeavor to not let any of our neighbors and loved ones be perceived or even imagined to be “the enemy”. The historic, and I truly hope, timeless strength of America is community, which is built on those dedicated to the service of others: volunteer fire, rescue and first responders; boards of education, local health officials, local election officials and yes, elected officials. Now, tragically, our communities are endangered by unwitting agents of those who seek to erode our democracy by dividing our communities and pitting us against one another.
I have been blessed not just by a career that has taken me to many countries and cultures, but also by my good fortune to have traveled and worked in every one of the 50 states and almost all the territories. I have experienced first-hand the common decency and boundless curiosity in our people. I have seen Americans holding entirely opposing points of view welcome young canvassers into their home, offering them coffee or something to eat, taking the time to listen but not necessarily changing their positions or their vote.
This great nation has faced many challenges, both from abroad and from within. This newest challenge demands that we unite against external manipulation and treat each other with respect and civility, because unity is our most powerful weapon against forces that hope to break down the democratic principles that define us. We don’t need to agree on all matters, but let’s stick together. Only when our country is united can we successfully tackle the issues that will determine the fate of our freedoms and become once again what President Reagan called “that shining city on the hill”.
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In the meantime, I hope the rest of the year finds you, your family and friends with all the health and happiness you desire.
Stay safe and healthy.
Flatten the curve (Get the JAB and the Boosters),
Bridge the Divide