« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#195 — Social Cohesion is Everything

2020-04-06 | 🔗

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with General Stanley McChrystal and Chris Fussell about the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the nature of the ongoing crisis, the threat of a breakdown in social order, the problem of misinformation, the prospects of a nationwide lockdown, the trade off between personal freedom and safety, the threat of tyranny, the concerns about the global supply chain, concerns about the price of oil, safeguarding the 2020 Presidential election, and other topics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
How can we make it has passed the SAM Harris, okay, well, Then lockdown for about a month here, a lower a month on my side, this is an increasingly surreal experience, Anyway, I hope your all stayin, reasonably sane and healthy. I just want to express my gratitude for all of you who can't actually locked down, because your servant some essential function in Society- Healthcare,
workers frontline responders. Those of you who are working in the supply chain delivering packages and food workmen markets in pharmacies. We're all incredibly lucky to have you and totally dependent on you. So thank you for what you doin. This episode upon cat is yet another p. I say I think I've had four or five of those in a row. So you will not hit a pay all hear anything on the pandemic, we're pulling out in its entirety, but just her mind you, if you care about getting all my podcast content. The only would actually do that is to subscribe and SAM Harris DOT, Org and also apologies for the sound in this episode. It's been my general practice of late. To bring people into studios and record them professionally depend, Denmark, has made that impossible, women's any people microphones or they can record from home.
But we can control all the variables environment and how that works out. So he'll hear some strange acoustics for one of our speakers today, you'll get used to it is by no means terrible. I actually had upon cast recorded a few days before this, that we can't release because Audio was that bad one can never be entirely sure who's gonna get under these conditions. But today's episode is perfectly fine, albeit not perfect. Ok Today I am speaking with general Stanley Mcchrystal and his colleague Chris Fossil General Mccrae. Retired from the. U S: Army is a forced, our general, after more than thirty four years of service and his last Simon was as the commander of all american coalition forces in Afghanistan, has written several books one of which is a memoir titled. My share of the task, which is a New York Times. Bestseller
he's also senior fellow at Yale, universities, Jackson, Institute for global affairs and he's a founder of the Mcchrystal Group Leadership Institute, and colleagues on today's episode is Chris. Fossil Chris is a partner, the Mcchrystal Group and he's the co author. With Stan of team of teams, which was also a New York Times. Bestseller Chris, was a commission naval officer and he spent fifteen years in the Navy seals in various points around the globe. The also served as the aide De Camp too general, Mcchrystal during his final year? Commanded, the joint special operations taskforce, fighting Al Qaeda crisis, also on the board of directors of the Navy Seal Foundation and as a member of the cap, one foreign relations and he also teaches at the Jackson Institute at Yale University, and this point has we focus. On a covert nineteen pandemic. We discuss our initial mistakes in responding to it,
the nature of the ongoing crisis, the threat of a breakdown in social order, the problem of misinformation, the consequences of dishonesty from the government the prospects of a nation wide lockdown, the trade off between personal freedom and safety, the possible threat of tyranny concerns about the global supply chain, and the price of oil go into low, the safeguarding of the twenty twenty presidential election and other topics. So when I further delay, I bring you stand Crystal and Chris Fossil. I am here with general, stand Mcchrystal and Chris Fossil guys thanks rejoining fashion. I haven't us. So I'm Stan I will. I will drop the general for our conversation, but obviously it's a great pleasure to get you,
on here. Given your your expertise and you dont need much of an introduction I will have given you want in my opening remarks, but perhaps both of you can summarize your experience here that seems relevant to the conversation were about to have sure start in increasing. I shared love it, spinnaker in the military, but really starting in two thousand and three when I took command of joint special Operations Command America's counter terrorist forces we were mostly focused in Iraq, but actually spread across the entire Middle EAST against Al Qaeda, and They get Qaeda in Iraq, which emerge starting in two thousand three, and what happened was we were a purpose built counter terrorist force for precision almost elegantly precise operations, not a very high tempo. Then we ran into this new entity Al Qaeda in Iraq. That was a more first
viral like entity that was opportunistic. It ticket was wickedly fast. It learned constantly adapt Damn opted to the conditions everywhere was, and it was really me and for about two years they were defeating us, no matter what we did. They were just a different threat that we were ready for. So what we did is in the middle of a fight. We transformed the organization, not us organization is culturally, we move to a distributed operation where we operated from seventy six different bases. Simultaneously, we had to synchronize ourselves, every twenty four hours, because that was the pace of the war. We have to change the mindset of how operations were conceived and approved, with a push approval way down close to people close to the action, and yet we all had to stay collaborative so that we at a come,
picture, a common shared consciousness of what was happening. It feels an awful like like what is happening with covered nineteen right now, So my background, really that's the time when my beliefs on leadership started ship pretty dramatically, and then in two thousand and one I retired, we found them Christy, group on the hypothesis that our experience was not really unique to war or counter terrorism. It was to the age of complexity and speed, which has changed the environment. We operate in an Sam. I join the military, the Navy in the late nineties. I went straight into the seal teams and spent about low over fifteen years there in that community and in two thousand and three went through. The selection dick to become part of the counter terrorism taskforce that stuff Mcchrystal, whatever C4 about five years. During that really the peak years of trends. Forming that organization from.
Down and linear into distributed network model, and so for a few years. I've got to see it on the front edge, reinforced on the ground outpost around around the world around the fight. Then but a year on stance staff as His aid camps like a chief of staff, had fallen civilian world and got to see that from the strategic level watch, how really a global enterprises trend on the way it's communicated decentralized decisions. I've been on the receiving end of that, but then got to see it from behind the scenes at deeply interested in the network methodology that is against oaks of Boerne, day as well went on to study that in grad school went back to my seal command for for a few more years and then in twenty twelve came here in a bit far partnered with Stan. Ever since that time,
nice, nice was that there many ways we could have this conversation: easy your expertise with respect to distributed organizations and the resilience, one has to build in by organizing a new new ways that obviously has a disappear positive sign that we are learning from you having pumped up against terrorist organizations, but all this is relevant for how businesses now need to pursue aid under these new and then highly disruptive conditions. So we can talk about what people can do and should do in the business community to to make themselves more resilient, but I want us to focus. On the ways in which are fairly inept response, thus far to the pandemic. In particular, in the United States could out, and if you share that judgment, I would love to get your taken just how you think our response has gone
far but, however, well or ineptly we respond. There are downside risks to a new virus aside an economic collapse that we all need to be mindful of, and in particular I am concerned about social cohesion and again this could be a generic conversation for some future pandemic right say this as a covert nineteen as a dress rehearsal for something much worse. I want to get a sense from you guys about what you're thinking about and watching for end worrying about, and the kinds of advice you would be given to the government and to businesses and individuals in light of the possible knock on effects of. What is on one level, an epidemiological problem and on another yoga, quickly growing at an economic one, absolutely
and somewhat I'll. Do it I'll start and frame up what I think the situation has evolved to an impasse, Chris could see, and I have spent a lot of time talking about the social cohesion part if we think about the threat right now. This amorphous viral frightening threat of a pandemic mixed, Lily a shut down or a seizing up of the world's economy on a short term basis. Has us frightened by something we can't touch her feel, but we know is deadly and it also has its terrified, because our economic well being our security and our future is in doubt. If we look at the United States as the pandemic started to appear first in China and in little places elsewhere, our first response was not to be candid with the american people we should have been, and I think several things came out of that by not laying out the situation
Clearly like a leader at the beginning of a war, might do we created misperceptions about the level of threat and the level of activity that would be needed to defeat this. Maybe that was to make people feel better in the moment, but the reality is what it did was it caused a lot of organizations to be slower to respond than they needed to be As we did that, and we reacted slowly, we Started to suddenly see the effects of the virus on the United States, which of course accelerated the economic shut down and then what we ve been doing since is largely fighting this as fifty separate state battles as though each state really each municipality he's on their own to fight this virus, but the very Nature of an opportunistic threat like this is that you must be united If you want to win a war, the way you do it as you break your enemy and
This is in the defeat them in detail, if you want to lose a war, you do the opposite. You get divided up and then each organization is trying to defend itself and they can't so We ve done as we set up a mindset in the United States. That says to a degree every man and woman for themselves- and you know I break that- to the state or municipal level, when they lack the confidence, the expertise to resource to do that, then suddenly you see society under pressure, but it's not linked arms. Then we passed a Chris, because that pressure can frightening effects. Yeah. We started high level of what we see in other parts of the world that we may think were far way from in reality. This is part of the human dna the tribal, is on some local focus. Second, kick in as we start to lose the
Those things that we take a rather to keep us cohesive enough. So there you don't separate as a society, there's a there's, a thing called the suit social cohesion, cohesion curve that I'm a big believer in and just a simple sort of x y access. It says you have. I everywhere, if a country is now you know in civil war has its cross some let level to maintain so the daily peace around society. Some of that you get for free based on the two, the homogeneity and similarities inside the so think, like Norway, forest I would be very high just on the national level of cohesion, and then you have to use to cover the difference with so rule of law and order, and and sometimes it that natural order is pretty low, like we found in a place like Iraq, for example, from the outside three two thousand three looks like ok. This is a relatively stable place, then I cohesion was much lower than we would have assumed and so on. The same in the bath. Is TAT covered the guy
with all sorts of massive suppression. Behind the scenes, while some of which we knew about what some of which we didn't brightened so in that gets, removed and the bath escaped removed, then suddenly that gap is wide open and that that tribalism kicks in very quickly and in a matter of months society dedicated some war, and then it gets Al Qaeda and throws a grenade in the middle of it right, so that everything that other places inadequate Afghanistan, where the Taliban came in and separate the society through very varied violence methodology obviously but turned what you know just fifty yours prior than a vacation MECCA post Soviet. And warlord situation. Where the violence is untenable. The Taliban that separates people die the lowest and isolated level and with we'll be generations. If that's ever able to recover too that the afghan asylum,
what's new Bob in the nineties, etc, etc. So seen examples of that, we have to be understanding as things gets sir, turn it down to the state and local level that will further decay potentially down into socio economic line, some of which I already seen to start a strip club in the news, whether it's between healthcare we'd shortages, those sorts of things, there's there's a real potential under the surface that weaken fractional lies. I think worth were force distance from that levels of violence. Using other places, but the social repair in an already very poor life, polarized society, could take much longer than we imagine. What have we if we don't get aggressive right now, leaders at every level did it to keep those communities, states etc, type together under some some common banner right. Why? I think me people, listening to this conversational find it
frankly alarming that I'm even inclined to talk to to military guys. However, well qualified and view the current situation through that lends to talk about the possibility, City of a breakdown in social order is to paint an unnecessarily scary picture and there's just something in laboratory about even entertaining this possibility. But I think one lesson to draw from this experience is You know if you haven't thought about how quickly the world can change and once it changes there is this kind of rapid enough. Were you. It seems this move in one direction and is very hard to get it to move back to where you came from you not drawing the obvious lesson most of humanity at this point is now told to stay home and various places are enforcing that recommendation with greater or lesser heavy handedness
and it really seems to me fairly obvious- that if our response to the end I'm an emergency, isn't really effective We run the risk of many things, go haywire. That again, this is standing complete aside from the very obvious dresser of the epidemic, which could break our health care system and make this parallel theme of tragedy. Just what is beginning to happen economically poses a threat of of a breakdown of social order, so I just want to frame this discussion by saying that I am not expecting a breakdown in social order, but it just it would seem irresponsible to not have experts of your sort at least talk us through the kind of things. We should be looking for, responding to pre Empting, an advance I'll, give you one exam both alike, in LOS Angeles, it was just recently advertised that
some very nice stores Radio drive in Beverly Hills had boarded up their windows with plywood. Obviously dissipating the problem of looting and when I saw that on the one hand that could you could interpret, that is a signal of heightened risk or, but, conversely, is also just a message sent two, its almost like broken windows, policing, run and in reverse its just a bad message of social distrust sent to all of society. But we start to see things like that. See it kind of unravelling, beginning which we should want to figure out how to arrest and in the other rumors that I don't know if it's official, but I have this on fairly good authority, that police departments are policing quite differently now, because I don't want to be up close and personal with people and they don't have to. They don't want to be putting people into jails where this contagion could be explode in the courts
not empaneling juries. Our justice system is grind to a halt as well and therefore their crimes that are not being prosecuted and crimes that are not being or even responded to at the level of policing. So and it is the kind of thing again is moving in the wrong direction when you're talking about social order? So I just wanted to point that out to both you- and I think it's only responsible for leaders at every level too recognize. You know what is similar about a current problem or crisis somewhat different and there are it was here that we ve never, we ve never dealt with. We certainly seen up natural disaster. Hurricane sandy type stuff, that's when the grating nature of our society comes out, but the very was different. There's we. We all love. Seeing this right neighbours support neighbors, they come out, they rebuild a house day. They go to the heart, one volunteer their time center. We can't do that in this situation, It only makes the problem worse. If you tried it played here, you know: here's your strongest.
Side of your nature and help one another out, so we have to separate at, and that adds fuel potentially too to the fire that you're you're talking about, and I think The things it in a good way. You know it but to say, societies a thing you don't notice, he lives in the background if you live in a good society right, but if you benefit This is where that was the truth and then very quickly. It's not the truth, my first faced with this was grieved to them, The one spending time in Croatia, training with it is there and got to be good friends with immigration. There are special operations, unison, an officer there who, been married to a serbian woman, they still war and when the worse started, they had twice I wish to make a decision whether gonna go back to her villagers. The separation and sustained Croatia. Then he told her the whole story. Did you another? His unit went back and fought in the village where his pipe was from and his children's grandparents had lived.
There, and then it happened in a matter of no eighteen, twenty four months and lasted a generation and then there were. That was a level of inner Mary common line. Common culture that would have and absolutely seamless to an outsider, and so you have to think through. Have we? U can fight it? You can get ahead of it, but leaders to be very deliberate about how we gonna hold these social ties during together together, were when we had to be physically. Apart, yeah I'd. I'd want to echo the point you made about how bizarre and unnatural. This problem is- and this is not at all like any other sort of natural disaster, because keeping people apart is the first and only remedy at this moment and ass. The antithesis of all the ethical and political silver linings societies contend defined or whenever one has to respond to a crisis, it really
is almost engineered forum, a bad outcome. So how do you think we should be messaging around this, because one of the things that is especially insidious about the current crisis is There's a political overlay to everything, or at least people have to burn a lot of fuel trying to fight in themselves free of it. And so the messaging around this being a problem is in a balkan ized. With respect to politics, There are many people who feel the longest time seemed to think this was all a hoax as a mediator. Then narrative designed to harm the president's reelection prospects and many people seem to have recovered from that, but certainly not ever body and on how much time you guys been social media, but I'm
encountering a pizza gate level. Conspiracy theories around basic terrestrial facts of epidemiology and its- It's pretty weird out there in the information space. We can take any piece of this you want, but just in terms of what, has been communicated, how its being communicated, how we get on the same page with respect to this now to crises again covered end the economy. What are your thoughts there? Let me start first the idea of what keeps people believing in operating according to the rules of a society, and I think it's based on confidence, you know the value of money is based on the confidence. Someone else will accept that money. For for what you need, the reason many people follow laws is because they believe there's
on order system that is in their interest to follow laws, because other people will then as well once you start to have a dearth of information. If we did a thought experiment, we said covered, ninety was approaching and suddenly all digital communications were cut off. Television found everything. Suddenly people would feel their heads with Whenever the idea of the potential threat is you we already see hoarding, we see increase sales of firearms recently during this, and that's that, those your glimmers of people losing confidence that this system is going to work. So now, if you say
but we haven't, lost all communications, but our communications have become corrupted, they ve been corrupted by politics and they been corrupted by dishonesty as well people just putting absolute disinformation up, and so people start to discount the truth. They start to act in a way that that says, I am. I not confident that society is gonna work in the way that it was advertised. In that I experience before, and so now I've got You draw into my tribal group whether it's my family or war, religion or racial whenever it is draw together which causes society to admire more You see that whenever a society's under huge pressure again, we saw it in Iraq, you see. If during riots were people shorted go to the place, they feel safest, but a modern society can't function that way very long because our systems are built on
things have any connect. Deliveries happened to be made for supply chain for food that YAP delivery of services I think it's a more fragile apparatus infrastructure than we sometimes think it is, and that's why I think the important so really clear, accurate information to bill people's confidence. It may not be the story that they want. It, maybe pain, a pretty challenging picture, but the accuracy is essential because people make decision based upon their perceptions and people will again, though, as we said, oh go high right and, in short, a drift out of where common sense should take em and that really threatened society. That's something I worried about frankly, ever since Trump became president, because what whatever you may one day,
I do not like about him. I think it is uncontroversial to say that his relationship to the truth, to a truly fact based discussion about anything, is about as precarious as we have ever seen. In not just politics, religious anywhere in public life, I'm sure there are still here out there. Who will not admit that the president lies to an unnatural degree, but is objectively true to say that he does right. It's not a partisan statement and I've always view this as just a her traffic liability, because if we have someone who will lie reflexively, even when it doesn't serve his interests, he will contradict himself in a way that certainly doesn't make him look good and there's no apparent advantage, and he does it just relentless and with a velocity that we ve never seen before and.
Sort of good fun when you, when there's nothing at stake and the DOW is hitting thirty thousand and were not in a war, and everyone in trumps base can just laugh that he's winding up the Lib towards, But now we really need leadership and we really need to be able to trust the information were getting from the White House and in honestly, just seems like something that cannot be corrected for, apart from the experts with their own reputations to maintain, however difficult that project is messaging around him in a whether their standing within speed of him or not, there's no way the Trump become someone who can actually be trusted not to shade the truth, I know you guys have aim. That is somewhat taboo for you to strike what seems to be a hard power. Nickel note one way or the other, but just wondering what you're your senses of that end,
and what to do in light of that, because to my eye and if we know at least sixty percent countries. I. This is a man who will lie about anything all the time for reasons, far less grave than kinds of reasons he's confronting now. So how do we reboot from there? I think there's two wasted to tackle it: even tries to stay. Are you dont lose this thing? HU as it turns into political conversation it. It only exacerbates the problems that there are not against logic right people just say. Well, I'm on the side. Therefore, I believe or don't believe in the end it everything I'll just right here. Let me just respond to that concern due to try to close the door to their because really is not a political point. I'm making amount would never say this about someone like it romney right. This is not an anti republican point and it's just not political to point out.
That. Someone is not speaking factually and is either ignorant of certain facts or consciously misrepresenting them, and you just you- can catch Trump doing that. So often that me, you can set your watch by it and then again it's just not. I don't do that as a partisan statement, although it will be heard, as it part statement by the presence defenders, I hear you making it as you often do it at a sound argument about the importance of verifiable proof and that's more important. Now than ever. One of the things just got. There's two two thoughts of that she's up. One is at what level would this be fought and out from that over to stay on it, so that this is exactly what he had to do inside of are forced to fight a distributive problem right governors and mayors, local leaders in our frontline, your colonels. The other, though, is the interplay between these types. Systems- and this is one that stand up in
this plan for twenty years, and so it's just painfully obvious when you see it happening the way that eight traditional top down, so some works and if, if you had a very sore a corner office, bureaucratic leader who always wants to receive information, a walk out and shared, as his or her own, which is not uncommon and big. Big a prize Government- military cetera- that tendency turtles down very quickly in a whole system of staff into that sort of Haider, and it's the exact opposite of what you need to do in your fighting in network spread networks and traditional bureaucracies, I refused. Their governing dynamics are fundamentally opposite right. One only cares about how how quick can I grow? I'm gonna find new opportunity where it exists, that out I'll try to spread and that's how this is running, obviously different, different problems, but the variables and allow them to do that in a interconnected world are very similar
And so, if you are I a leader I stand Mcchrystal had rolled into the joint counter. Terrorism can, ready and said. I want to know everything but I'll tell you what to do next. We would have done every single thing we did correctly and we would will gotten praise for, and we would have been orders of magnitude too slow to keep up with the problem. We have found a bunch, a localised fights all looked good in around own little world and the problem. The spread multiple times faster than we could keep up with it, and the real problem is, if you had a caustic Leir sitting on top. System like that he could have several all the other things happening out. My problem is everything I say: do gets done right, so my units are our great. This. Nobody else is problem so that at every level, these two stack up against each other in in opposite and very dangerous waste leaders, in this sort of situation need to quickly create the copper wire for connectivity get ground. Truth is that where the truth sets up and through the system and then be
ultimate network, connector and so on. I don't know the answers. This is changing too fast, but I The mayor in this city has a good sum get inside What does she know? What can we learn from it and how quickly can others be informed by that? So I just want to be there. We can do it and I will never be able to walk on the stage and looked like the brilliant know it all like. We haven't had traditional hierarchical model and that's a hard behaviour for leaders to shift towards this as one does not solution. Now, that's highlighting the problem on the balance in those there's personalities. I think the thing that I had hoped for twenty years ago was that the Wikipedia effect would bring to out, and so I really sorta had a pollyanna view. That said, if you get enough sources in unfettered from providing ground fruit, that the truth would went out, because it's the truth that is not proven correct, so far,
and so one of the dangerous parts about this is because that's a proven. True, if you look at our political environment discount everybody. I had a pretty intelligent friend of mine. The other day say that he was not happy with what the president said, but he thought that all politicians lie. So what the president says does it matter? yet, and we discovered it and then there's the idea that all news media is flawed, and so we discovered all sources of information that that we used to be reliant on It really does matter how you respond to. An error rates like anyone, your times, makes a mistake. You know if they, apple down on it. Every time pointed out. Will then they're just torturing the reputation, and it doesn't take too much of that before you, ve made what many proceed,
to be an unrecoverable error and so aims of or is there they're alive? the channels of information and unreliable, wonder it really does often come down to what any organization or any individual does when it becomes clear that they made a mistake, but one things it so toxic about arm information, ecosystem right now. Is it because everyone, essentially silo themselves without even knowing their doing it. But everyone can create enough of an echo chamber based on the kinds of news they liked to hear It just seems that many people become unreachable right, there's, always a conspiratorial rejoinder to a fact that is impossible to assimilate within your cherished conspiracy theory or worldview end People can just stay stuck there and then you're, then you're dealing with for who, for whom? The sky As the limit based on allegations of the motions,
saying intent behind any about. I, like you, know, I'm talking to people not publicly the moment but privately, but people who have immense social media platforms who think that. The problem is all made up the covert nineteen is not even as bad as the flu and there all the noise were hearing from hospitals and governors is just it and to get more money out of the federal government. That is perhaps married to some kind of social panic and there's literally no there there, where we're going to wake up and realise that basically Seventy five year olds died from covered nineteen and they were most then we're gonna die anyway from other conditions, I'm talking about millions of followers on twitter, and message in this kind of contrary in attitude with respect to this, that is its incredibly harm
and when irony here is it. This is hit the blue counties. First, I e the bay cities, and so it's only now beginning to make itself known in Rural America and throughout the south end and we're we're it just at the beginning of this thing off epidemiologically and economically, Where do you think this goes once the difference between New York? city and every other place in the car, trees no longer so stark. The upshot is you're. Talking to this parallel to the tribal viewpoints that that we experienced in previous life with the Al Qaeda fight that I think they start to manifest here and there's a desert glimmer of hope here as well. One other thing: We found again back to this interplay of traditional comes at an end networks that really have no emotion. I just wanna get big fast. We always that apply is
pat ourselves on the back for sea or number go down in New York, which is the end product of you know. People literally put their lives on the line of work on the floor. That's a good story. Covert, doesn't care That's just gonna leave that very hard access point to go somewhere else, it'll drift into these other communities as well as your laying out. So that's not that sign up. To what you. What, when we went into that fight, we all showed up with our organizational biases, which are similar in some ways These political lies, geographic, lies, etc. There will be a challenge here so up I came from this started inside military units. I came from seal teams and I brought up in a culture that said we don't get along with this army unit or that unit over their etc, etc. And you don't know, Are you just brought believing that to be the truth and it is based on certain cultural law and they thought the same thing in reverse so's, as we got distributed,
One of the first things that Mcchrystal did was we're gonna, send you out closest to the fight and we got in these small pockets next to each other. We, you know the bullets flying those all through a cultural. I say, go out the window pretty quickly right, say you figure out a way to become a cohesive team on the ground. There was at least enforcing functions that that was not a afflict the switch once that started to take hold inside these very, very alpha military units. In you know those personalities, SAM. You spend time round those that part of the military that then it was able to expand out into civilian organisations as well. So we had a collective buys against intelligence organizations or against diplomatic organisations, etc, etc, and as these members of those different tribes clustered in small groups post The fight was called the STAR Wars bar you walked in and was all the more aliens, but we were, we were locked in one localised fight which made it very serious and and tradition
Tribal norms could be overcome by certain common by on solving your local issue, then when those networks were tied together into a bigger system, you started to get ground troops right. Then you got a clear picture across These boundaries that have an inter agency feel to them does those local groups, it said: look. We're all on the same page here to our interpreters. This and then you connect at around the world and the like. You were given an honest picture of what was happening inside this network threat and, of course, that goes back to the previous discussion, it was dependent on leaders that were really willing to put in place a network methodology that allowed and that forced the sooner you know tat the power source predominant really every likes to talk about, but is very, very hard to put in place. They created system very deliberately were those closest to the fight at a daily platform where they could talk about what is happening in certain
that no one can deny that truth. The problems bigger here at shrinking here, we, helicopters over here. We need predator assets to go to the north and those were decisions there were coming up from the ground based on. That Interagency cross tribal boundary, realistic picture. We can do the same thing here: those local leaders, crane network connection model between Bears Hospital systems for responder governors, even so that they can become the ground. I view. In truth, if they are given the platform that can become a very, very powerful tool, but it that will take How you now and all of us will default to my down in view just like I would have been the seal teams. I wasn't going to suddenly say I'm going to forgo all of my seal team. Tribal norms. Walk across the street trotted become bodies with his army ranger over here because my try, but there said that you doing right, we
ass, we had leadership on top of this is that this is the only way we win and I'm gonna put forcing functions in places. Make you all get along, and I believe there is no book written about this beforehand. I believe that will make us as interconnected as this Al Qaeda threat and the same thing I think, can hold true here. What do you think the prospects are there we'll have a national lockdown. I think its inevitable. I think it'll be late to need, but at a shirt, point what we ve seen so far is. Instead, of being ahead of the problem, or we are responding as a nation. To sort of that, you know the yard. The facts being right in front of Essen and have to do it, and so I think a national lockdown comes pretty soon. I'm not sure how much it will cost us to be this late, but I did, but I believe it said
and this opens the door to another strand of concerns, which de the ways in which are arguably a necessary response to a biological and economic emergency can be viewed. As the the aggregation of power and Even the looming thread of tyranny. Writer will have a government that, by definition, will have more and more power, both overt, which is, in this case, imposing a locked down and how imposed the details there will matter, but also just were seen, really a hunger for increased surveillance right. We want to be able to track the spread of the saying we want to be able to track the efficacy, social distancing. Most people will have seen the video of all those cell phone
leaving the beach and for Lauderdale and spreading out throughout the country, and these are now digital surveillance tools that the government will have more more access to end on some level. We have eight a scared population that the eager to give away its privacy and some amount of freedom with both hands. If it could possibly do some good. Here and again. This is more of a ratcheting effect where you know you keep turning the wheel in one direction and it becomes or one could fear that it becomes very difficult to turn it back and to reset. So how do you think about the threat of tyranny or the perceived threat of tyranny, as we enact more comprehensive response to the problem? Yeah semi, not as worried about it, as some people are. If you go back in our history, we ve always imposed
measures we had to whether its passports to get an imagination, whether it is t say to protect airlines from terrorism, whether its things. We do a policing, wise gesture to make sure that people are safe on the streets. I think every nation the society makes a trade off between shirt and personal freedoms and then what's what's needed to keep the society from destroying itself? I think the technology has been growing, so it just makes it easier to have surveillance cameras or cell phone tracking or any number these things, and I think society will make decisions it will like it has with the use of mobile devices. Many of us have traded off a lot of our security for convenience and I think people will be only too happy to trade off some of their convenience, for you know, six
from a pandemic or other threats, so I dont think it'll it'll be as bad as we think effect. I think the population will sign up for it pretty easily. I think we'll have to keep watch in it because the problem is, it tends to get ahead of us now, the technology, what we can do with cell phones. What we can do, a tracking is more than the average person appreciates, so they will have given up more of their personal privacy than then they know, and so we do need to watch that if you watch what not just as being done by governments but what's being done by marketers, what's being done by political campaigns, you know there's an extraordinary ability to target, voters are customers or whatever using data that most of us don't really think about when we log into a website or or use our cell phone, how it will not just a little bit savvy had a conversation before this all here,
With a few votes in in your world, around the eye. Here, that this concept of being honoured, right. This is really a unique on a grand scope of history. My sense of individual autonomy and and people not knowing but I'm up to is made he's going to be just this brief cute little moments of a hundred years, or so because everything about you know in a try, the culture. Obviously everybody has everyone so you survive even going back just to my grandparents generation growing up in smoke Now everyone was in your business all the time. It's only in recent history that you been able to, The way you dont being from middle class community, you couldn't, you could go to school to get a job in and city where no one knows you and you can great credit sensible autonomy and independence, and- and you can choose how known you are too, that local communities
technology is already usurped that right- and this maybe the wake up call. It says no to standpoint. Collectively. We're get right off that that sense of autonomy for collect protection like we ve done throughout the vast, no no point, five percent of of our history, and I think that this will be as all on the backside of all the data that will be collected the arguments will be quite sounds to build a trace, the sort of thing, and you're earlier one. I know you ve, disgusted with others on your show. This probably is the warmer right. Anyone that knows this place are better than that we do will say yeah. This is this is round one. This is the easy warning for what could happen down the road and so those things a couple together and we will learn out of this probably eighty one of the ways we have to position ourselves be right for this when it, what is a forty percent kill rate and a easier transfer mythology is to sacrifice some of these.
Nobody is right, the knock on effects of that's a long conversation, but We're gonna be having this conversation pretty quickly here. That's one thing to be hoped for if it's possible to learn these lessons so clearly that we could have a kind of turnkey solution to the next pandemic, because it really does seem like This isn't the last time we are going to be faced with something for which we have zero immunity and, as you say, could be much worse end a national or global shelter. In place, order could be responded to with real alacrity, and something like finesse. If we just knew how we unrolled it, everyone understood the need for and we know how to stall our economy and then to restart it, and we know how much more it upon banner what percentage of GDP it upon ban and adjust. It seems like this, a machine, the workings of what
were understanding more and more on our in our were stress test in it, but again it the leadership has been such and the public debate about in many cases under Badal FACTS has been such. That is not yet inspiring much confidence that were learning the lessons and away little Bee indelible here. But it is an interesting thing to consider. So that you're the guns of August argument in the in the military really spying. Last thing: it was so hard you on the wrong lessons for the next war. There wasn't any. There wasn't any easier Al Qaeda that was fought before this this generation right and if it learns in a gross, etc. If there is a bigger thing on the backside of that of others that determine ten years sentimental, our lifetime, or certainly probably of this current one, one We are trying to talk very directly with leaders across all different parts of industry and govern satirists. Everybody gets a passport happens role, trying to figure this out. We need to move faster, no need to pass and a fall in August.
Pass the spring, and certainly a society we'll get another pass on this once we figure this out exactly you're saying what is it? What are the things We have to have an opportunity to be able to go in and out of this, if it happens again, five years or, if it happens again in the fall and so a lot of leaders. Understandably, organizations are thinking. How do I get through this quarter? That's that's fine! Where is Europe baseline ourselves. But how do we create the organization of the future? That's gonna be able to survive through these things with a nation of the future. They can deal with this sort of pandemic when it's even worse and could be orders of active worse. We had you guys, think about the tension between in what is rational for individuals or even individual businesses to do verses what is collectively beneficial and though there are zero sum or apparent zero sum. Tradeoffs hear me, take something like
whether to buy p p right over the hoarding of masks or anything else. The hoarding of food being early to stock up and how much to stock up when it there's a run on the market are a run on the bank or run on anything you you get this breakdown of the system. And supply chain and, in many cases, a breakdown of confidence in our eyes. Petitions and and norms, and your it is either tipping points there were. Those tensions can be resolved up until the point and then then you ve got people. Boarding up their windows and trying to sell thousands of bottles of peril out of public storage. I haven't been vilified online for it. How do you think about those trade off between the individual and in the group?
I think it's when you lose confidence in that society is going to work in your favour and our collective favour that law and order that supply chains, you can work than you start to have a case where people or small groups are incentive. I to do its best for them, because the good of the society no longer applies to him. I don't think it would take very much to see that behaviour kick up more than we have. We ve seen some hoarding things. We ve seen a couple of communities that I read about basically say we don't want any outside hers. Come in. I could see three weeks from now small towns, with checkpoints outside the towns where people were shot gun, saying no strangers come through these checkpoints into our town and from their standpoint it would look like very rational behaviour from anything six months. If we went back six months and we predicted this kind of thing- we say it was
should have a post, apocalyptic zombie, land, behavior, but I can see that happening, and people just to themselves at that particular case. It works. The problem is the more those things happened, the more it speeds up: the deterioration of society, the more you breathing apart the less this globalized system, we ve created, works and a lot of people aren't fully appreciated the fact that there are so many things that are not built not only in their neighbourhood but not in their country that they were on every day that suddenly, you saying oh wait a minute in our interest for the global structure to be healthy into work and in fact it could be toward demise if it doesn't. So I think that we need to spend time educating people on that, because If you have a simplistic view, you take simple actions. Yet one of the things that effort stand say quite regular last few weeks,
is the two leaders who have not just industry leaders, but any any leaders that sit on top of these networks that keeps society other it's to activate the network. How do I think about that? the obvious ones on the mayor, town about a governor, etc, see manager but there are all these. These super knows inside community networks that we we take for granted because they're, just in the background right my school principle. My church later, my community group leadership Et Cetera any that net localised space those leaders there. They can be a real part, the solution, but a new sort of challenge for that site the actual saddening everywhere across the country, but that the schools, some will say- ok were worse- were at home for the rest of year, we're gonna head out school packets three times a week, renew site Skype Cause so attended to the kids involved through digital platforms of their teacher, but those we'll sit on top of these, especially in place like
you see or other larger cities very diverse, adult community and we see each other in passing at the school, are kids well, a playground together, etc. There is a social cohesion that comes from that they could be gone for six twelve months. We don't we don't know yet along and when we coupled with the problems that could be on the backside of this. You know I live in middle of DC. My kid goes to school, with with other kids, who I know, are no their parents, as we spend time after school together, some of those kids live in food desert, the other side, the city when they were shortages, their impact on those communities and the tethers between adult population have been separated because we're elated menu. You adding one more risky variable to how you know. Society can start to unwind in a very unfavourable way, who are those local leaders, it might seem on national for our principal step in and say you know what every two
I'm going to do a Skype call with all the parents in my school, because I want them to hear from each other. I want it. I want those ties to stay in place. That's never been part of their job description, but those are those invisible networks that we have find ways to keep strong, because you know how long is gonna last year What are your expectations there on them time front? How long are you preparing yourself for it to last year with to a fair amount about it. I think we're gonna see the effects of covert nineteen directly meaning waves of of it into what twenty twenty one, probably into the spring, a twenty twenty one. I think that as society gets a little more prepared for each time that each one will be a little bit less. Impact foreigners will be better at doing certain things, but I think that the requirement to separate is probably likely
getting in the fall, and maybe again in the winter or early spring, which is going to affect the economy, so I think, if we think in that kind of a timer ryzen, we need to think about solutions that are not. You know everybody cocoon. In their home for two weeks, and then we emerging it's all well, I think we're going to have to make organizations work. You know that distributed work environment for not just a few, but for most organizations are going to have to work we're going to have to figure out how we take care of those people who have to be at physically doing it not just first responders but people in the supply chain and and things like that, we're going to have to think through those because an alternative. We have got to keep those fundamental wheels of society turn it in you. I can remember from the the Al Qaeda fight them
Last time I had a finish line in my head was the when we were chasing Abu myself as our colleague in Iraq, who was the first, you know really well known leader of a cure, New Al Qaeda, you point out, he was sort of innovative, etc, and we all and I can read these conversations. I happened to before deployed during that that time window We knew we were closed and the thinking was this will be the same. Line one week when we get him, this war will start wine down and we got em and with hidden. Three days. Everybody realized but wait a second. There wasn't a finnish law there is. There is no We find this that this is a new type of threat. Have you met Abubakar Outback, daddy, an end because you realize it isn't. I dont ideology that existing networks and it will just continue to thrive so our challenge then was able to wake up. Call Abby be. How do we redesign ourselves and, of course, is worthy of note that sanctions for while we're sloth, a candidate
that was. How do we resign ourselves to be able to survive through these? This much longer unending general infinite war than a network wants to fight out of you. If you take it with a rigid we're gonna, be done by ex date. Then you're only setting yourself up for frustration and probably value what lessons you draw around our dependency. On a global supply chain here, because many people were frankly astonished at how in our supply was on many fronts, and I think that the PPP issue has been the most calling for people images, the idea that we could so quickly run out of masks and that many of them need to be producing China and China having the same problem and then, when you overlay the prospect of being in conflict with a country like China, and you recognise that most of our medication is coming either in whole or in part,
coming from China and India, it's just one person drew. The analogy of outsourcing are in addition to China, knowing full well that we can, one day being a shooting war with them, but were expecting them to supply us with bullets. What lesson do you draw up about? What we actually need to take in house for emergencies of his kind yeah. I think that one thing is the interdependency. Between countries are grossly under Miss, are under Mr Arm misunderstood because, as you said,
play there. We may say: okay, we're going to make all of our weapons here. Oliver ammunition hear all of our key things, but then you find the key. You know basic materials or components of those are required and, like we found it our medical supply chain, we have interdependencies. This came from a focus on trying to be as efficient as possible to reduce our costs as much as possible, and if you go to the you know the doctrine of free trade, it makes sense. People should do that part of economic activity for which they are best suited, but it does create this mutual dependency that we are dependent upon the supply chain there and they are dependent upon us for many things there, for you got to decide whether that's acceptable, whether they are a reliable enough partner but politically medically
militarily thrusted to do that and that's a consciousness that I think America is like for quite a while. I think we just don't have a sense for just how many things we don't either make or the the raw materials we don't produce. Yeah, it is seems like they should just be a cop answer inventory of everything we wish. We had in the current circumstances and didn't and then figure out why that was the case in and also to figure out what the government can only do effectively. It seems like the free market and said there for many of these things are just never gonna, be there, and so recognising that an ability to produce- an antiviral that, if all goes well. Now only a tiny percentage of us need to use once in our lives. The market doesn't incentivize in there
billions of dollars in that. But me clearly, that's the kind of thing we need in these circumstances. I don't know if you have thoughts about the division of labor between government and private industry. There yeah, it said if you go to just medical capability, Governor Cuomo gave a great short of trimmer on this the other day and he described we have a privatized hospital system and all of those hospitals can't afford. Bet that they dont need show their very carefully calculate what they need, and so we don't have excess capacity. The military has to have a certain amount of excess capacity, like you see with the hospital ships and then feel hospitals that they can put up, but they have to be prepared for conflict and sudden casualties, but the rest
our system, just as in both at way, and so when we suddenly want to have this surge capability. We don't have it, I think that's a national decision, the night, the nation S, to decide how much surge capability do we want to maintain you to keep in mothballs or we'd have to subsidize spills to keep it ready. He and obviously, all Other emergencies and potential emergencies that the world can throw at us have not been cancelled. Just because all of our attention is on this one How do you see the the risks were running on other front I think we ve been running this risk for a few years here in the United States for sure in our system deco chambers preoccupation, which is fast new cycle, etc, and a strategic costs right, and we ve seen examples of that with Russia and other other actors. There had been Dunstan presupposed, get stuff of the last three years
This is up back to the earlier discussion. The new variables here that could be proven wrong here, but certainly not my lifetime hazard within a single story that the whole world talking about this literally or anything. Outlet is talking about anywhere in the world right now. There may be an exception out there, but it's just blanket it right and so those sophisticated actors, all the way down to your violent groups that Muslims have ever heard of they know when they have a smoke cover right, I am sure that this is being taken advantage of by really bad although not just nation, state players, but localised proper. Were you know in countries that we would normally painter into and be able to put pressure on and use, diplomatic labyrinth, etc, etc. That they know that their actions will break through no look here care and it doesn't get into the. Media cycle they can get away, would have it with whatever they want. That could be bought violence I could be. We would never there where their intent is and so
It will take us a lot of that, will never be unwound, but I'm I'm willing to bet that some of the stories that will come out of what happened during this blanket coverage we'll be there, Some part are breaking stories in their end, some strategic ground that we will have, a real challenge ahead of us to make up to everything from them strategic all the way down to loaf SAM. I would add, there's some day stabilizing factors that are likely to be. Second third order effects. One. The jumps out most is the price of oil. You know we were all already moving away from oil into renewables, which I think was a good thing many economies in the world to include a horse to a degree are based on a stable price of oil much higher than it is right now, and I think there is every chance that the price of oil could drop down below twenty dollars a barrel if it goes
there, then many nations aren't economically viable anymore, and so therein, higher economic model is up ended, and so you, almost half to Heaven stability, follow from that for one type of that less mature medical systems and vague it hit with covered nineteen show you have this combination of factors that produces instability, which whenever you have instability nowadays in the world, you can export. What are you trying to export it or not? I think that's just a couple of examples of things that could easily happen. In your future. So I know you guys are running out of time over their aside our brain into the air don't here given special concerns about the election in November, because about just on its face asking everyone to turn up and vote in person
seems epidemiologically unwise, and it would be very easy to see in the paranoid fantasies of his detractors a a concern that Trump could just decide. You know it's not safe to hold an election had enough what the constitutionality of that would be but how hey wire? Could the presidential election go if covered is still surging on all fronts. At that point, yeah I think first and election is critical. I think for lots of reasons, but particularly in the United States, right now, presidential elections critical. I also think that it is entirely within the capacity for us to go without having to go physically opposed. Bruce. I think we ve got the ability to trans transition to vote by male where necessary, but both digitally otherwise there would be growing
pains in it, but I think we could have already started making that transition. I think we also could take a great step forward towards decreasing voters. Surprise Should that way, there are lots of things. I think that technology could help us do. This could be the forcing function for us to take it on. I'm worried that we can do it fast enough for November, but I think we need to make that effort. We talk about social unrest for social cohesion. I think if this election is not conducted, then I think that will be an additional pressure for part of the population with a sense that they have been not disenfranchised here. Just the concern about a hacking of a digital election is so excruciating at the moment and the crisis of legitimacy that would follow if there was any doubt as to they're. Not the result was really the the real result is hard to see how we get away from paper on some level were I dont think it can be exit
fall asleep and still undermined in the exchange rate, would you had a real it's it's for possible at the core of the problem. I would say it's: the dna of growing up in the world that we did fighting is come it's like you, you're always sort of nervous about the second ridge line out and It makes me nervous it we're not talking at the national level about what this will look like in the fall like there needs to be a plan in place their worth, considering into debating right now assume the worst in the fall and don't try to solve it in you over right. We need to get ahead of this right now and are warning the american people and pressing for well, I want to thank you all for the work you have been doing for many years, and the work you container do has been been great. To get your expertise here on the podcast days or any place, you would point people if they want to follow your work and understand what you're doing with businesses and give us the relevant websites and
social media handles short or stuff is long and are preferable, website, Mcchrystal Group, dot, com or team of teams the first book we were together a few years back. That's a great prime, around sort of theory, the case that what we experienced over overseas and then in a quick search where they can find stand or myself on social media platforms and Chris, thank you, but we're time. Sam. Thank you for having makes them
Transcript generated on 2020-04-15.