WBZ, Tanya Moseley, Scott Tong discussed on Here & Now

Here & Now


From npr in wbz. I'm tanya moseley. I'm scott tong it's here now. General mark milley heroic treasonous somewhere in the middle. The country's highest ranking military leader twice called his chinese counterpart to pledge that the us would not attack china. The calls came at the end of the trump administration last october. And then this january. This was first reported in an upcoming book and then confirmed by. Millie and the pentagon milly reportedly feared that trump's actions in the waning days of his presidency could have provoked a military confrontation with china. Is critics include retired lieutenant. Colonel alexander vin men who said he crossed a line here. he is a newsweek's the daily break podcast. Even if he did what he did for the right reasons what he did was wrong and there an accountability with that. You can't just walk away from flirting with upending. Civil-military norms you know. Doing end runs around civilian control and walk away with their consequences. Okay let's bring in here announced national security analyst. Jim walsh to talk about all this. He's with the mit security studies program. I jim scott now. There's a furious political debate as you know over million what he did. How do you think about this and what it tells us about. Who's in charge. The top uniform military officer or the commander in chief. Well you're right to say that. The debate is sort of settled into millie as heroic defender. Add up moment of peril. I mean it's worth pointing out that. This was in the middle of the insurrection after all others saying he was insubordinate and crossed the line. And then other saying now no you guys have it all wrong. This was normal by the book stuff. All of us have been scheduled in advance and reviewed regular communication with a nuclear on country to prevent misperception miscalculation calculation and. That's a good thing and scott. I don't think you'll be surprised to hear the contrary view. And that is this all misses the point and deeply disturbing way the point is and it had been true for some time that many people appointed by mr trump came to fear that he might act rashly and cause or start a war even a nuclear war so these are his people officials and national security whom know him best and they're the ones who are the most worried now. We can have a debate over whether in fact lines were cost or they weren't and what the proper procedure is. But hey let's just pull back here and say the people who knew him best national security. We're worried he was going to start a nuclear war. And we're all sort of like well that boy that's crazy but hey what about those north korean. So i think we're missing. We're missing the flashing sign here. There's a problem and the problem is nuclear weapons and as far as flashing signs. There were of course to calls and as you say. One came january eighth two days after the insurrection at the capitol to the events of of that day speaker pelosi reportedly talking to me about trump's state of mind and millie talking to senior officers but nuclear decision. Making i mean. Is this one of those specific days. That goes exactly to what you're talking about. Yes i think so. I remember that day so well. It was a friday when pelosi announced that she had talked to million asked him about what had gone down. And then all the reporting that we've had this week. No one is talking about that so one one single day. January eighth politic calls milly worried about nuclear weapons. Milly reassures allegedly reassures china. That there'll be no surprise attack and on that same day. Millie convenience his senior officers to review the procedures for proper nuclear decision. Making now my supposed to believe that. That's all a big coincidence. Now people were generally genuinely scared about what trump might do. And that's because we have all these weapons. It was a flashing danger sign and we were sworn concerned about it but then we all moved on. I mean is there alternative alternative way to look at this and say these could be people at very high levels but they were overreacting to what was happening. I mean that could be but you know. Who should we be. If they're overreacting. It makes me wonder how we should be re. If they're the closest to the situation and the people who know the president the best and take nuclear weapons seriously. Most of us don't have time to think about that sort of thing. That's their job. And if they're freaking out about it then that tells me something very wrong is going on and if you remember scott and that whole run that last half year from september on there where people were being relieved of duty as was brought on. He was fired. He was on travel the whole month of september. Because he didn't want to have to deal with it. There were people who were temporarily acting positions. I mean the whole process decision. Making process was all broken down and then in the middle of this. You get the insurrection. Right and very quickly. I just want to come back to this debate very quickly on one hand there are those who say You know the military leaders can't take charge in a case like this and others who are absolute who say civilian control over these things. Is that in your view. A legitimate debate out there of how do things in some ways. Yes absolutely and i am not saying the military should take charge. I believe in democracy. And i believe in know strict rules for civil military relations I'm saying that the military was scared to death and that the problem here is not one person. It's not the problem. Is that an american president or general or any other single human being has the power to destroy everything on earth because they control nuclear weapons so the problem is not the person it's the one person has the ability to destroy everything. The problem is not the system. It's the nuclear weapon. Okay all right. Jim walsh here now. National security analyst at the mit security studies program. Jim thank you as always. thank you. Scott travel to the united kingdom. Just got a little easier. The british government announced it will stop requiring double vaccinated people to take pcr test before returning from many countries. Meanwhile the race is on to get the number of cases of covert nineteen down in the uk before we enter the winter months. That's when people typically spend more time indoors and in close proximity to others. Prime minister boris johnson earlier. This week praised how much vaccines have made a difference. And he wants to continue that. Momentum curved is still there. But i'm confident that we can keep going with our plan to turn jabs jab jabs into jobs jobs jobs and protect the gains that we've made together. I spoke earlier today with. Npr's london correspondent. Frank langfitt and asked him to explain. Boris johnson's plan to avoid a hard winter interesting. Tanya listening to that clip that is he wants to jab out of this. There's no question he's talking about..

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