Former US Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and Freedom Research Foundation’s Brandon Wheeler join us after meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s top general and intelligence officers to share fresh perspectives from the war front.
What We Discuss with Chris Miller & Brandon Wheeler:
- Putin’s unintended consequence: how Russia’s actions have consolidated the entire Western world.
- Why isn’t there a no-fly zone over Ukraine?
- Are sanctions against Russia working?
- What else can the West do to contain Putin’s Russia?
- Predictions about Russia’s plans and strategies moving forward, and what Putin’s likely ambitions beyond this invasion entail.
- And much more…
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What does Putin want in Ukraine, and how likely is he to get it? A lot of it depends on what the Western world does right now.
On this episode, we’re joined by former US Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and Freedom Research Foundation’s Brandon Wheeler after their meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s top general and intelligence officers to share fresh perspectives from the war front. Have a listen and learn! And if you’re wondering how you can help the people of Ukraine as they continue to suffer the atrocities of invasion by Russian forces, here’s a list.
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Have you heard our interview with Yuriy Matsarsky, a Ukrainian journalist turned civilian fighter against the Russian invasion? Catch up with episode 638: Yuriy Matsarsky | Fighting for Ukraine here!
Thanks, Chris Miller & Brandon Wheeler!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Christopher C. Miller | Wikipedia
- Brandon H. Wheeler | Providence
- Be a Force for Freedom | Freedom Research Foundation
- Support for the People of Ukraine | Jordan Harbinger
- Volodymyr Zelenskyy | Twitter
- Vladimir Putin | Wikipedia
- Anderson Cooper | The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty | Jordan Harbinger
- War in Ukraine | Channel 5 with Andrew Callaghan
- Opinion: A NATO No-Fly Zone Would Escalate the Russia-Ukraine War | The New York Times
- Putin Has a Grimly Absolute Vision of the ‘Russian World’ | Foreign Policy
- What Does Russia Want in Ukraine? A Full Guide. | The New York Times
- Sherman’s March to the Sea | American Battlefield Trust
- What the Ruthless New Commander of Russia’s Military Signals for War in Ukraine | NPR
- Viktor Orbán | Wikipedia
- CIA Director Says Putin Might Consider Nuclear Weapons | The New York Times
- Dissolution of Russia | Wikipedia
- What Russia Could Look Like in 2035, if Putin Gets His Wish | Foreign Policy
- Yuriy Matsarsky | Fighting for Ukraine | Jordan Harbinger
- Peter Zeihan | Why the World Should Care About Ukraine | Jordan Harbinger
- Bill Browder | Hunted by Putin | Jordan Harbinger
- Michael McFaul | What It’s Like to Stand Up to Putin | Jordan Harbinger
654: Chris Miller & Brandon Wheeler | News from Ukraine’s War Front
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:02] Chris Miller: If you're sitting up in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia right now, you can't count on hope being — like, we hope this is going to end. Polish people can't count on that. We have to stand up now. This is the fight — this is the pivot point in history. We've got to recognize that this is just not a passing thing. And this is the one. This is the fight for the future of the Western world, I think. And I strongly believe that I wouldn't be here otherwise.
[00:00:29] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, spies, and psychologists, even the occasional billionaire investor, organized crime figure, or astronaut. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:00:54] If you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about it, I highly suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of our favorite episodes organized by popular topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show — topics like persuasion and influence, disinformation and cyber warfare, abnormal psychology, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:17] Today, two guests in an unusual departure from the norm. I've got both Brandon Wheeler of the Freedom Research Foundation and former United States Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller. The guys are live from Poland, having just come from meeting President Zelensky's cabinet over in Ukraine. We'll get an update on the conflict, not from talking-head news pundits, but from former military and special forces operators on the ground with information fresh from Ukrainian and Polish top brass. We'll also make some predictions about Russia's plans and strategies moving forward, both inside Ukraine and Putin's ambitions outside Ukraine. Also, why isn't there a no-fly zone? Are sanctions working? What else can the West do to contain Putin's Russia? This and more in this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Let's get started.
[00:02:04] Thank you guys so much for joining me today. I know you guys are very tired, having just driven back over the border from Ukraine. And I'm curious what the drive to and from Kyiv is like? Is there a lot of obvious battle damage surrounding the city?
[00:02:18] Chris Miller: Jordan, it was amazing. So I get here — Brandon, the executive director of Freedom Research Foundation. We were at the airport together. We get in at about 10:00 p.m. He goes 1:00 a.m. This is like — I'm not going to do public math. Do not do public math, particularly on The Jordan Harbinger Show, because that will be horribly embarassing—
[00:02:41] Jordan Harbinger: Time zone conversions are not good if you tried to do it live, if that's where you're going.
[00:02:45] Chris Miller: I was going to go like that's three hours. I do know it's three hours. We get in a small — it was a nice car. It's an Audi — well done, sir. And off we go, we leave Warsaw, get to the border. We got to the border about seven in the morning. Yeah, it was seven in the morning, border between Poland and Ukraine. A few refugees coming across, not too many at that hour because there's a curfew in Ukraine. You know, war going on—
[00:03:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:11] Chris Miller: So they lock the place down and we go to Lviv. Lviv's what? An hour and a half from the border. Lviv, you know, you see Anderson Cooper and all they're doing their live feeds from there. Let me tell you what, that's like being in West Palm Beach. There's no war there. Although cruise missiles went in a while ago, but when the Russians were defeated in the Kyiv offensive, not a lot going on there. People out in the streets and whatnot. We got there really early and we had an incredible meeting with the border guards who — one of the leaders of the Ukrainian border guards. It's kind of heartbreaking. He's exhausted. And he can just see like, "Okay, some more Americans. Great. You know, wanting something." And we just like, "Hey, we're not — we're here to help, man. We're non-profit. We're not here to try to sell you anything." And he kind of came alive, but man, they took it bad. Because when the Russians came down, whose first line of defense border guards, they slowed them down. Then we got up to Kyiv, so we got lost.
[00:04:10] Jordan Harbinger: You got lost? Actually got lost on the drive.
[00:04:13] Chris Miller: Yeah, we got lost. We end up north of Kyiv where the main battle area was. We're on the battlefield. We're driving around the battlefield. Of course, the battle's over a couple of days, right? And I'm just like — story of my life, right? GPS map. I just want it to map. Everybody's using their phones and we got lost. So I had been in Iraq in 2003, invasion. It looked a lot like that. Everything shot up, blown up. Gas stations just destroyed. You could see where Ukrainians had established battle positions and fought at. I mean, you could see like machine gun fire just ripped the part, these buildings and tank rounds.
[00:04:48] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:04:48] Chris Miller: It's like riding on the inner city. What's a—?
[00:04:51] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, I grew up in Michigan, so I-75 is like right through the center of the country, right?
[00:04:55] Chris Miller: Yeah. I saw you're a Michigan guy. I'm an Iowa guy. I was raised in Iowa City. I hope you don't take it against me.
[00:05:01] Jordan Harbinger: It's okay.
[00:05:01] Chris Miller: My second favorite big 10 school is the University of Michigan, just saying.
[00:05:06] So the thing is, so when you're fighting, it's funny, you fight for the road system. So essentially the interstate road system is what we're driving on. And there are armored vehicles that have been destroyed. We're just driving along and what happens — you know the jersey barriers and the metal railings that we see on our interstates?
[00:05:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, guardrails or whatever.
[00:05:26] Chris Miller: Yeah, guardrails. So it reminded me of Iraq because when you're fighting in youre armor vehicle, those things can like run over cars and not even know it. So the guardrails are all — they've run back and forth. So it's a wreck. There's burned out material there. There are no bodies left. All the bodies have been cleaned up, but you could just see, like, this was a heck of a fight and we ended up driving all through these back neighborhoods and you could just get a feel for like how violent the struggle was.
[00:05:54] Why don't you pick up on our ride back? If that's all right.
[00:05:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:05:58] Chris Miller: Maybe we have a little PTSD or something from our trip and I'm probably talking too much.
[00:06:03] Jordan Harbinger: No, it's good. It's good because I wanted to paint a picture of this. Because right now, when we see on the news, like you said, if I'm watching, I don't know Jake Tapper or something, he's on a balcony from his hotel suite somewhere in Lviv. You know, he's not looking — most of the time, anyway, I want to give the guy a little credit. Most of the time, he's not looking directly at anything like this. And so, you know, we see maybe some footage and some clips and some photos, but rarely has anybody gotten in Audi and tried to make the trip back and forth to Poland.
[00:06:31] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah. And just for the record, in my defense, we had the ministry of defense driving and escorting us with security.
[00:06:37] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:06:38] Brandon Wheeler: So the getting lost part wasn't like—
[00:06:40] Jordan Harbinger: You weren't using Apple maps on your—
[00:06:41] Brandon Wheeler: My Waze maps bailed out or something. Yeah. I remember you know, exactly, as Chris said, we're in one of these neighborhoods and I'm like, "Man, I got to hop out and like take care of business." And he's like, "Hey, there's mines everywhere, so just be really careful with those." You know, when you're in Afghanistan, you always do your like little, the three and six checks, when you get outside of the vehicle, but hadn't done that in a minute.
[00:07:02] So anyway, we get back in, we finally figured out which direction we need to go in. And then there's just a huge traffic jam because people are trying to get back in the city. And they're only using back roads. We get told that Zelensky is coming out. And I don't know that that's true, but we also know that Boris Johnson was on the ground. So somebody important was getting, you know, traffic stopped and we're now stuck in this thing.
[00:07:26] And so we have the top five generals and civilians running the war, sitting around, waiting for us to show up. And we're like, "Oh gosh." like, you know, we just feel like who are we to keep these guys from their war? We finally get in there, we walk in and it was pretty surreal to, you know, both Chris and I have been in—
[00:07:46] Chris Miller: You know what it felt like when we were in that meeting? It felt like Churchill War Room. It felt that significant. And they were so tired because they'd been fighting and we're in there and you know, here we are the, "Hey–"
[00:07:58] Jordan Harbinger: Chipper.
[00:07:59] Chris Miller: —here comes.
[00:07:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:08:00] Chris Miller: Yeah. And here comes some war tourists. We weren't chipper. By that point, I was exhausted. I was just smoked.
[00:08:05] But did you get that feeling? It felt like the Churchill War Rooms. It really was significant, you know, it's dark and we're in there and like they're fighting this war. It was really powerful.
[00:08:14] Brandon Wheeler: It was. And I think, the one thing that we, I feel, like gave them was that sense of hope. There are people out there and we made it very clear. You know, we're not there representing the US government. We're a nonprofit. We're there to understand, learn, and then go back and educate people in the private and public sectors and try to get them the support they need from the people who can give it to them.
[00:08:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. This is interesting. I've seen a couple of interviews with, let's say, Zelensky or other members of his cabinet and it does look like they are in quite literally some kind of underground or at least windowless bunker with the screens are up and there's papers everywhere and pictures full of — you know, four-day-old coffee, probably that they are still sipping on. And they do look — and I mean, nothing negative by this — they just look like they've been run ragged because they'd been run ragged and it's pretty admirable to see them holding up at all. I don't know if I'd be able to string a sentence together at this — what are we on? Day 40 something of the conflict or day 50 something?
[00:09:13] Chris Miller: Well, Jordan, you know, you just nailed it. And I did way too much combat time in my day, my first career is in the military, right? And I remember like 2003, we're getting ready to invade. And Saddam Hussein keeps firing rockets. We're in Kuwait. He keeps firing rockets at us. And every time a rocket comes in, this alarm goes off and you have to go to your bunker. And I just remember being so exhausted and I looked in their eyes and I was like, "Oh my gosh, they look just like I did." And then, here's yin and yang, like, "Hi, we're here to help you." And it was really humbling, man. It was just like, they had been at it and they had that thousand-yard stare. And of course, they have to take the meeting because every meeting might result in a success or an accomplishment and all, they were like, "Hey, what do you guys want?"
[00:10:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:10:04] Chris Miller: And I've been in that situation. And I was so empathetic, you know? And I'm like, "Oh, I'm that guy that I used to make fun of. Like, who's this moron showing up?" The fact that they were willing to meet with us — and hey man, they were really honest. And they said, "We can do this fight. We have the people, we have the will. We just need the equipment. We need the weapons. We don't need your people. We don't need — we just need support and don't forget us." And you know, as an American, you don't really have to worry about a rocket coming in and blowing up your school or your hospital.
[00:10:36] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:10:37] Chris Miller: Thank goodness, you know, honestly—
[00:10:38] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:10:38] Chris Miller: —than to be there. And of course, you know what else struck me — their families. We'd ask like, "How's your family?" And they'd be like, "Haven't talked to them in three weeks. They're in Odesa." And we're like, "Oh man."
[00:10:50] Jordan Harbinger: That's horrible.
[00:10:50] Chris Miller: It was really powerful.
[00:10:52] Jordan Harbinger: That's horrible. I thought you were going to say, "Haven't talked to him in three weeks. They're in the suburb of Berlin living a somewhat normal life." No, they're stuck in Odesa waiting for a Russian onslaught. That would keep anybody from maybe fully focusing on well, or keep you ultra focused on the task at hand, I suppose because every decision you make now has a massive potential consequence.
[00:11:13] A lot of people online and elsewhere, including on roadsides when I see protests now for Ukraine issues, a lot of people are saying, "Why don't we have a no-fly zone over Ukraine?" Or why won't we supply Ukraine with advanced weaponry, like fighter jets? Can we disabuse people of the notion that this is an easy thing to accomplish or that it would even be a wise thing to accomplish? I don't know where your opinion is, but I assume that — you know, whenever I listen to analysts, it's pretty clear that we can't or should not do this.
[00:11:41] Brandon Wheeler: Well. You know, when I was in the Marine Corps, I was part of the unit that implemented the no-fly zone over Libya. We've been asked this question a number of times. I think what's really hard to understand is that you need so much international support in order to be able to actually execute a no-fly zone. You basically need a decision from the UN and then the NATO needs to be able to implement that. And when you look at it from a practical standpoint, being to do that, when you're faced against Russia is just very unrealistic.
[00:12:08] Yeah, it would escalate very quickly because a no-fly zone is only as good as it being enforced. I think that instead of thinking about having the West implement a no-fly zone, it's more about how can we support the Ukrainians to control their airspace, which essentially gives you the same result without the second and third-order effects of creating essentially World War III.
[00:12:29] And this is exactly what Chris said and what we've been continuing to say is that we need to give them the equipment needed in order to defend themselves. And that's what America and Western civilizations say they stand for. Individual freedom, self-determination, the things that make our country the way it is, which we benefit from in an incredible way. That's all they want. And they have a right to that. So I think this narrative that, "Oh, you know, we're not going to give them the equipment because it's going to anger Russia." Well, that's just nonsense. I mean, it's like, you're just letting a bully know how far they can beat you up—
[00:13:04] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:13:04] Brandon Wheeler: —because you're not willing to stand up to them.
[00:13:06] Jordan Harbinger: That's exactly what it seems like. That leads to my next question, which is how do these decisions get made, right? Because if we send Soviet-era anti-air weaponry to Ukraine from Slovakia, which is something I saw in the news the other day, that supposedly is not a provocation, but if we send Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine via Poland, then that is a provocation. And it's kind of like— is somebody just waking up on the left side or the right side of the bed and saying, "Well, I don't like that one, but this one seems fine because reasons—" If we send handheld weaponry to Ukraine fine but if we send more robust or more advanced systems, then that's somehow not fine.
[00:13:40] You know, where's the line who's deciding on the line and based on what factors, because like you said, Brandon, if we just say, "Hey, we'll send you this system, but not this one. We'll send you these types of armored vehicles, but not these," then aren't we just telling Putin exactly what we're willing to deal with? And he's just going to walk right up to that line and to keep pushing it forward. That seems like his playbook.
[00:14:00] Chris Miller: Jordan, you triggered me on that one because I listened to all the pundits on the shows and I watch him on both sides. And I use as my measure of effectiveness, my wife, who is more on the left and she can't understand why we're not — I disagree. I think we should put in a humanitarian, no-flight zone and establish it. And also we're overthinking this. My party line is everything you need to know about this war. And you need to know about Putin. You learned on the junior high school playground. He's a bully. The only way you deal with a bully is you have to stand up to him. So you hit the nail on the head. Like, let's not overthink this. I think they're getting out like, okay, deterrence. We haven't had to deal with deterrence for quite a while. Fortunately, with the end of the Cold War, we're able to kind of like do some other things for a change. Unfortunately, it ended up being a 20-year global war on terrorism, but that's neither here nor there at this point.
[00:14:53] So people have lost that muscle memory about how to respond into bullies, into tyrants, and into totalitarian governments. You can just see him like, "Oh, deterrence. Yeah, give me that hermit con book. Didn't he write about deterrence in the 1950s and they dusted off. We're in a different era, you know? So they're using this deterrence logic of the old days, which you had to think about that when we have 20,000 nuclear weapons on both sides. This is pretty simple. We got to update our thinking about this. We got to update our thinking about NATO and all of these things.
[00:15:26] So let's give them the stuff. They're going to be fine. We're not going to start World War III by providing them, "Oh my gosh, that rifle fires 200 rounds per minute, but this one only fires 150." Like the Russians are going to understand—
[00:15:40] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:15:40] Chris Miller: —the nuance of that. Remember that's like that incremental approach that we used to use back in the day. And I just think we got it. We have to think differently.
[00:15:48] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, sure. Look, I understand not wanting to say, "Okay, we've now got an entire US—" I don't really know how we divide these things but like fighter wing division flying over Ukraine. That's going to shoot down any Russian pilots. And now, we've got US anti-air gear on the ground manned by US soldiers. That's an escalation, right? That's a dramatic escalation. But if we just send working stuff to Ukrainians and let them shoot down planes that are bombing maternity hospitals or even their fighting positions for that matter, that doesn't exactly seem beyond the pale for what essentially looks like almost the beginning of a proxy war, unfortunately, in Ukrainian soil.
[00:16:25] Chris Miller: That was my thing with — you know, you hear the talking heads on TV, there's [David Petraeus] and all these people and Jack Keane and McCaffrey and all these people, and you listen to them and they speak in stentorian tones with great authority. And that's why we came out here. We're like, I'm not going to say a single word about any of this until I go out and see it with my own eyes and smell it and then taste it and then listen — not talk, listen to people. And here was a takeaway. They don't want American boots on the ground. They don't want NATO boots on the ground. Heck, they don't even really want NATO planes or American planes overhead.
[00:17:01] Jordan Harbinger: They probably didn't even want you guys there.
[00:17:04] Chris Miller: No, I guarantee, I guarantee you they did not want us there. I guarantee they didn't, but if we are going to help inform American decision-makers and more importantly, the American public, as opposed to the talking heads that you like, "Okay, what segment are we on?" We came out here to see that and they don't want that. They just want, "Give us the tools. We'll fight this war."
[00:17:24] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:17:24] Chris Miller: We just need the tool. So it's like, yeah, give them what they need. We're not going to start World War III by giving them a Patriot missile system.
[00:17:30] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:17:31] Chris Miller: It takes a while to train them up, but that's not the point. They're smart people. They'll figure it out.
[00:17:35] Jordan Harbinger: I was listening to something the other day on — I guess they were anti-ship missiles and they were people debating, "Well, if we send these short-range ones that can destroy small landing craft, and we don't send these larger ones that can reach Russian ships out at sea, then that's a fair balance." I just wonder, well, if these boats are there to shell Odesa, why should Ukraine not be able to fire back? I mean, we really are sort of saying, "Hey, fight this fight against a larger enemy, but you really have to tie one hand behind your back because if you win that way, then everybody will think it's fair," which is ridiculous.
[00:18:08] Brandon, you told me that Russia doesn't share our values. You said something along those lines on a call a few weeks ago. What do you mean by that?
[00:18:17] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah, Jordan, thanks for asking the question. It's really the whole reason why we've been meandering through foreign policy for the last 20 years, doing contradictory things. It's because in order to have an effective foreign policy, you need to decide who you're going to support. And the question is why are you going to support them? And the only thing that's enduring quite honestly, is what is it that they think? What are the ideas that they have? Because those aren't going to change. You know, you can give people money, power. You can say, "Oh, my enemy's enemy is my friend," but all that stuff is fleeting. It'll change. And we can use so many historical examples to prove that.
[00:18:53] But when you talk about the Russian people or you talk about the culture, you know — I want to be very careful. I think there are a lot of Russians who do believe in what the West stands for and America. And I saw that firsthand when I was in Russia, much younger, but I think collectively, and certainly the government, certainly Putin, do not share our values. And he's the one making decisions. He's the one actually making all of this terror occur. And so what that means is if they're willing to execute this kind of aggression against innocent civilians, that stands against everything that America and Western civilization was built upon.
[00:19:26] The idea that you have individual freedoms and that civilization should be structured in a way, so you can be as free as possible without infringing on somebody else's freedom, regardless of your ethnicity or your religion. And those are the things that should drive our foreign policy. We should have a foreign policy based on principle. And until we do that, we're going to continue to get into these situations where we're just doing contradictory things that are ultimately not in our interest.
[00:19:51] Jordan Harbinger: This makes sense, right? Because like you said earlier, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I mean, that's their sort of light notes of Afghanistan or not so light notes of Afghanistan in there, right? Just because somebody is fighting an enemy that you don't like doesn't necessarily mean that they're deserving of wholehearted fully backed American support because sometimes those groups turn around and then say, "Great. All right, thanks for all the weapons. We pushed out the, whatever, current enemy you have the Soviets. Now, we're going to go back to the stone age and implement insane draconian policies where people are property and we have slavery," or whatever. Just to throw an example out of there, right? I think most Americans probably agree that we should not support that. It seems like a necessary evil at the time. But as we have seen just in our short lifetimes here, that has not really worked out so well.
[00:20:39] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah. I would say it's a necessary excuse because we're not educating ourselves on the culture and then we're not doing the really tough work of trying to find the individuals and the people who really do share our values. I have not been in a country in the world out of about 90 or I haven't found people who want what we have in America. Now, you can say at the macro level, there may be cultures where it doesn't fit the way we want to do it, but you will see democratic behavior in a tribe. You'll see collective societies where they're making decisions in being representative in their decision-making process from a very local way. A democracy has to be behavior before it can be a government. And that's a quintessential part of being able to understand the culture. They may not do it like us, but they're still doing it. And we need to understand that and support the positives of that and try to keep them away from the bad things.
[00:21:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's interesting that democracy has to be a behavior before it becomes a government. I have never heard that before, but that makes complete sense, right? You can't just say, "Okay, now everybody is going to have a voice," and people say, "We've never had that. What does that mean? What are the responsibilities of that voice?" And we sort of saw the same thing with capitalism at the end of the cold war, right? People were trading in their share of their iron company, where they worked for their whole life. And they said, "I don't need to own part of this company. So I'm going to trade this little piece of paper for a bottle of vodka and 20 bucks." And they did that by the thousands. And now we have oligarchs in Russia and we see that in a lot of places where we try and just sort of spray paint of a veneer of what looks American over the maybe sort of rotten corpse of what used to be a functioning country in some way. And it does not work. To put it elegantly, my grandfather used to say, "You can't polish a turd." And I'll just leave that one there.
[00:22:28] Speaking of not sharing our values, why is Russia going after so much civilian — I should say, Putin, why is he going after so much civilian infrastructure? What's the idea here. This is obviously deliberate at this point. It's not just collateral damage.
[00:22:44] Chris Miller: So true. I think it's Soviet military doctrine 101 that goes back to World War II, where you — if you couldn't unbolt it and put it on the back of a truck or a train and send it back to the homeland to an appropriate the technology and the machinery, you just destroyed it with this scorched earth. And it's just, it's straight-up — it's pretty simple. Like you just keep punching them and punching them and try to intimidate them. And it's just a street fight and it's like the most cynical barbaric way — but hey, listen, let's be clear. That's how we fought wars for a long, long time. The American army has done everything they can, the American military to try to use technology and other things to avoid that type of thing.
[00:23:31] And of course, we don't do it deliberately. There, there are some off-the-wall criminal cases that happen. It always happens in war. That's the nature of war. If it was peace, we call it peace. It's just a barbaric thing but this is by design, like you brought up and it's strictly to intimidate and just show this raw power. Because at the end of the day, these tyrants it's all about power, right? They don't care about polling and they don't care about civil society support.
[00:23:59] So what do you think? I think it's straight out of like the book for like, "Okay, tyrant totalitarian government 101." It's like, "Okay, anytime you go to war, destroy everything, kill everything, and try to intimidate everybody."
[00:24:11] Brandon Wheeler: I mean, I agree with you. I think that from a decision-making process, it's really probably that simple, it's a very like total war Sherman approach, "I'm just going to destroy everything," and hopefully, that'll take out the will of the people to either support, you know, and they'll stop the resistance. Obviously, that's not working and it's having the opposite effect, not only locally, but regionally. I think there's also something deeper here. And it goes back to the historical relationship that Russia had with Ukraine. And it also goes back to the mentality of Putin. You know, there's a lot of parallels that they're driving to what Putin's doing in the Soviet Union. And I think that's wrong in the sense that a lot of the people who ran the Soviet Union were ideologues. They actually did believe in communism. Of course, they were corrupt and they were hypocrites, but they still kind of believe it.
[00:24:56] Putin isn't an ideologue. He's a thug, just like Chris said. And so he wants money and power. And for him, he wants to reestablish the czarist empire. This is his land. These are his people, his subjects. And he's going to make them realize that they've made a mistake by not, you know, bending the knee to him. And so, "If you don't join me, I'm going to kill you," because that's what a tyrant does.
[00:25:19] Chris Miller: Can you tell the story of your dad I don't mean to take over the show, Jordan.
[00:25:22] Jordan Harbinger: No, no, you're good.
[00:25:23] Chris Miller: He has this great story that he shared with — I can't remember who we were talking to about his dad meeting Putin. Can you tell it?
[00:25:29] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, it's not a secret. There were two US congressmen there, but I think what really had an impact with me about it. And it was in Washington DC at the Irish Times. And so he had given me this kind of perspective of his interaction with Putin and essentially, what it was is that the psychosis of Putin was this man who was trying to create this very macho, strong, persona to overcome a lot of insecurities and it made him very unstable. And what really happened was my father arm-wrestled Putin.
[00:26:02] Jordan Harbinger: Literally.
[00:26:03] Brandon Wheeler: Literally. And there's—
[00:26:04] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:26:04] Brandon Wheeler: There's witnesses in the Irish Times. Yeah, it's a funny story, but my father beat him on both arms and you could see that his reaction was almost like a small child having a toy taken away.
[00:26:16] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:26:16] Brandon Wheeler: Like he had a very low emotional quotient. He couldn't handle the defeat. And so he's always trying to build this persona. I think what that really means is that every decision he's making is compensating and trying to overdue — obviously, there's a lot of distrust between him and his generals. You see them sitting on the opposite ends of tables—
[00:26:34] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:26:34] Brandon Wheeler: —and stuff. I don't think he has any idea how bad he's losing this.
[00:26:37] Chris Miller: So your dad essentially started the second cold war.
[00:26:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:39] Chris Miller: That's great to know.
[00:26:40] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. And he lived to tell the tale, right? He doesn't drink a lot of tea in Russian restaurants, I'm guessing. This is a conversation for another time, but you got to wonder how it even happened, where it was like, "Hey, man, we should arm wrestle," you know? Like—
[00:26:54] Brandon Wheeler: It's called alcohol.
[00:26:55] Jordan Harbinger: It's got to be it. Because I'm thinking if I meet the only Russian I'd probably win against in arm wrestling is Gorbachev at this point. But I think, you know, if I go meet the chancellor of Germany, I'm not like, "You know what we should do? We should definitely arm wrestle in front of a large crowd of people." That's just such a weird, but also I guess, seemingly very sort of Eastern thing to do is lay it out like that. Is your dad Putin size? Because you would think you'd look at him and go — I get this image of your dad is a big dude, but I've only seen him online, so maybe not.
[00:27:28] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah, he's pretty big. I mean, he's six-foot, back then pretty built.
[00:27:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:32] Brandon Wheeler: But also remember Putin wasn't Putin then.
[00:27:34] Chris Miller: That's true.
[00:27:35] Brandon Wheeler: This was before Putin became anybody really. He was just a KGB guy.
[00:27:39] Jordan Harbinger: Even more, even more weird. This is — yeah, it's just such bizarre. That has to be like five to six shots of vodka, deep.
[00:27:46] Chris Miller: Jordan. Can't you see the book? You know, they had that book about table tennis diplomacy which what opened up the door to China-US relations.
[00:27:54] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:27:54] Chris Miller: I got the book you can write, or your dad can write, "The arm wrestling match."
[00:27:58] Jordan Harbinger: It's the inverse of that where actually, it made everything worse. Like maybe if he hadn't lost on both arms, Putin would have been, he'd have a Nobel Peace Prize by now.
[00:28:08] Brandon Wheeler: Somehow I doubt it.
[00:28:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's unlikely. I don't know. I wouldn't take that one to the bank.
[00:28:13] When it comes to civilian infrastructure, it sounds like you're saying Putin is not just trying to bait the Western into conflict. Because there are some people that say, "Hey, he's doing this because he wants a Western reaction." And it sounds like what you're saying is no he's doing this because that's what horrible people do when they're in a war that they can't necessarily win decisively on a tactical, from a tactical standpoint, they just level the place like they did with Grozny and Chechnya.
[00:28:37] Chris Miller: What kind of reactions does he want from the West? Because—
[00:28:40] Jordan Harbinger: Escalation, maybe.
[00:28:41] Chris Miller: What good does—?
[00:28:42] Jordan Harbinger: What good does that do exactly, right?
[00:28:44] Chris Miller: And I hear that again and again, and I'm just kind of trying to walk through it. You never want a mirror image, "While I do this," but I'm just kind of working through that one. I think he kind of understands our red lines and we don't have red lines anymore. I want to be perfectly clear.
[00:28:58] Jordan Harbinger: It doesn't seem like that.
[00:28:59] Chris Miller: You know, I don't have problem with red lines. The problem is if you put a red line down, you have to back it up — that's a whole nother story for another and your listeners are like, "No, we don't want to hear all that."
[00:29:10] So I'm just kind of like, why does he want a reaction to the West? He already has a reaction. Why would he want to have his economy further devastated? And it really — isn't all that's left is energy? And why would he go, "Well, this is a good thing"?
[00:29:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:29:24] Chris Miller: "Why don't I just end all my foreign exchange?" So I don't get that one. But what I find really interesting is we had all this great intelligence on what he was going to do. And now, all of a sudden, it doesn't sound like we have a heck of a lot of intelligence. We don't really know what he's going to do. But I don't know whether that's by design, by the administration and the intelligence community, or whether we've lost access or we don't know. And I don't understand why he would want to further provoke the West. Like this is going to be a good thing. Because the next step of this is right now, I think there's kind of a tacit — it's horrifying, but no one's going to take them to the International Criminal Tribunal in the Haag. That's not going to happen. I don't get the sense that there's any consensus or desire to overthrow him through whatever means. But then it all changes if he does something further provocative. And that's kind of where I get with chemical weapons would be stupid, but I'm not making any prediction on that—
[00:30:16] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:30:16] Chris Miller: —because all the predictions have been pretty off so far.
[00:30:22] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guests, Brandon Wheeler and former Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller. We'll be right back.
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[00:33:19] Now back to Brandon Wheeler and former Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller.
[00:33:24] Yeah, there was a lot of predictions in the beginning that didn't really seem to come true. I mean, everybody got this one wrong, myself included. You know, it was really surprising to see — everybody said that Ukraine would fall — what was it? Within days. It was like less than a week, was the estimate here. And here we are, as of this recording, day 50 something, I think. I'm just going, I'm spitballing here, but it's been a while. And by the time this airs, this guaranteed won't be over. I mean, there's sort of no easy wrap to this one.
[00:33:52] In fact, on that note, what do you see for the next 30 to 60 days of the war? I know predicting things in conflict is nearly impossible, but what do you think the new goals of Putin and the Russian military are? They've appointed this new commander. You know, there's a lot going on right now. There's a lot of influx.
[00:34:10] Brandon Wheeler: You know, when I was there about three weeks ago and I came back and briefed Chris, you know, I was really surprised at, despite the lack of equipment, just how well the Ukrainians are really being able to assess the forces, like the difference in the disposition and composition of forces up in Kyiv and the ones down south. And they know exactly what Russia's trying to do. And so I came back and told Chris, I was like, "Look, the attack on the Capitol, it's basically a faint, if you will, because they're sending their least trained conscripts." And to your point about this war continuing, not only is it going to continue, but the Ukrainians are winning tactically, they're taking ground back.
[00:34:52] I think that it's a very different story in the south and largely that's because the Russians want to try to make whatever's left of Ukraine landlocked, right? And that gives them strategic control over the country. Cause it's much more different to run a landlocked country. The impression that they gave me was what Russia is really trying to do is connect the areas in the east that they occupied in 14 with Transnistria, which they've had garrison Russian forces and kind of create a belt there. And part of the way they are going to do that as a land bridge from Crimea, the problem is the Russians can execute and we've seen this many examples of this. They're not even good tactically and they're not good operationally. They can't coordinate things. They can't move people and stuff at the same time.
[00:35:38] And so I think this was one of the things that once again, all the pundits got wrong, they counted number of people and trucks, and they're like, "Oh, that equals this side's going to win." Like it was a risk or something. And they just totally missed the whole, you know, will the fight, which Chris has said numerous times and I totally agree with him, but also the small unit leadership, decentralized decision-making, and operational planning, and the Ukrainians are far better at many of those things. I think that — and my prediction would be simply this. If the Ukrainians do not get the fixed-wing capability to conduct close air support and coordinate air with ground movement to retake the land — which they could do if we just gave them the stuff, because I think they're capable of doing it — then the war is in about 60 to 90 days international communities and be like, "Oh, okay, that's enough war guys. All right, just go to the table, negotiate a peace." And the Russians will get to take whatever they're still standing on, right? And that's what we've seen in a number of other places in Georgia with South Ossetia and you know what happened in Eastern Ukraine and there's many examples.
[00:36:43] That would be my prediction, which is why this time is so critical. They have the momentum, they have tactical success. We need to give them, we being the US and Western civilization. If we are who we say we are, and we believe what we believe, the Ukrainians do share our values, and we've seen it an particularly President Zelensky has just been this like world-class hero of a leader, literally out of a movie. This is the guy we need to say, we need more of this, and I'm going to take a small break in talking. But I think we should talk a little bit about who's Zelensky is in the new Ukraine because Ukraine has a bad rap.
[00:37:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no, we definitely can do that. I do want to put a bill on that for people who are not familiar with Ukrainian geography, I may or may not fall slightly into that bucket as well. So the Russians invaded the eastern part of Ukraine in 2014. So we're talking — things that people have heard before Donbas, et cetera. They've been there since then. Transnistria, you mentioned before, which is a part of Moldova. And you're saying that Russia wants to link those two occupied territories and then continue further southwest in Ukraine from Mariupol and to Odesa — where I used to live — and since Odessa is a large port, they would then cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea. And when you don't have access to water as a country, like you said, you can't ship large amounts of things in, you can't ship large amounts of things out, you're dependent upon other countries to get things to and from your country. So it does serious damage to your economy. And of course, also zaps your ability to fight if you're shipping in raw materials or weapons and shipping out things that make you funds in order to fight a conflict.
[00:38:22] And what we're worried about here — and again, stop me if I'm wrong. What we're worried about here is if in two months, Russia has solidified that we're worried that the international community will say, "Okay, now let's freeze everything the way it is." Russia now has Odesa, Mariupol, the east — they've connected Transnistria in Moldova and with the other occupied territories. "Let's just have east Ukraine and west Ukraine, and one belongs to Russia and one belongs to Ukraine. And then we'll just sort of pause from here." And then we just kind of wait until Putin gets restless again and rebuilds capacity and fixes his mistakes and then invades the rest of Ukraine in 10 years or five or three, right?
[00:38:57] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah. You got it.
[00:38:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Okay, good.
[00:38:59] Chris Miller: That's it.
[00:39:00] Brandon Wheeler: That was it.
[00:39:01] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. So should Ukraine then try to dislodge Russia from Donbas and the Eastern parts of the country and push them back to Russia. What do we think about that?
[00:39:11] Chris Miller: Why not? It's their country.
[00:39:12] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I agree with you there.
[00:39:14] Chris Miller: It's like, it's their country. They can do what they want.
[00:39:16] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:39:16] Chris Miller: I think we could go on all day about, you know, the ethnic Russians in the area and that won't happen.
[00:39:22] Jordan Harbinger: Capability wise, in terms of capability, are the Russians really, really strongly dugged in, in the east, as opposed to where they were in the rest of Ukraine — I guess, you know, we don't have to debate whether or not they should be in their own country. Like that's maybe another episode full of philosophical and historical arguments.
[00:39:38] What I'm asking is does Ukraine maybe have the ability to do this? Because it looks like they did quite well in other parts of the country. Is Eastern Ukraine different?
[00:39:47] Chris Miller: It's an entirely different conundrum, operationally and militarily,. Because, as we all know, when you're fighting on the defensive, the enemy is advancing and they're getting weaker and you're on the defensive and you know the train and the Ukrainians, I think their campaign so far has been — "We'll go down in history," is one of the most masterful military campaigns that we've seen. It's just incredible. But like you point out you're going into almost a World War I style setting where they have entrenchments and trench lines. However, like Brandon said, they have, the Ukrainians — if we provided them the right material and he brought up close air support to be able to support your advance of your ground forces, I would never ever count the Ukrainians out, but it's a fundamentally different fight and it's much more complicated and it's much more difficult.
[00:40:40] You brought up the key point though, Russians have bloody nose. They have to go back refit, rearm, consolidate, reorganize, and figure out what they're going to do long-term. That gives the Ukrainians time to prepare the capabilities to take back those regions. It's much harder to attack into a defense. I'm not telling you or your viewers or your listeners. I'm sorry, anything they don't know.
[00:41:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:41:04] Chris Miller: It's an entirely different challenge, but they're up to it. It's going to take some equipment and some training and some kind of thinking, but I wouldn't count them out. You?
[00:41:14] Brandon Wheeler: No, absolutely not. And I agree with Chris, I think, you know, just to give for the viewers who aren't like military background, it's kind of the difference between standing and throwing a football and running and throwing a football, right? It's like doing something while moving is very difficult, being stationary — so think about shooting, right? Now, you're in the defense. You have the terrain all mapped out, you've got all your guns pointed. There's nowhere for them to go, except to where you're staring at with your gun pointed. When you're moving on a defensive position, you're moving and fighting into a defended force, right?
[00:41:47] Jordan Harbinger: So one's in the trench and one's charging and the guy charging has a distinct disadvantage. Yeah, that totally makes sense. That totally makes sense.
[00:41:53] Brandon Wheeler: Exactly. Exactly. So that's what Chris is talking about. I agree with him is that if it was that simple, right? If you could just point to an adjacent country anywhere in the world and say, "Oh, those people are the same ethnic background as me, then I'm just going to invade." There are a hundred examples of countries that would be like, "Oh, those people over there are my ethnic group. And so I can just invade another sovereign country because they belong to me."
[00:42:20] Jordan Harbinger: Watch out Canada.
[00:42:21] Brandon Wheeler: Nobody would accept that, right? So why are people in America using that as a justification of Putin being able to invade Ukraine?
[00:42:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that certainly goes without saying, I mean, I think, but when I look around San Jose, what sort of ethnic group am I in? Honestly, I'm in China right now if that's the rubric we're going by, or Taiwan. They're at the very least. So what's the deal here? And in fact, I'm outnumbered even in my own house by Asians, and that's the way we like it here in the United States. But, you know, I suppose maybe in Europe, the historical memory is longer. I mean, that's the excuse that people are using. I'm certainly not going to justify that rationale to invade Ukraine. I mean, it's ridiculous by any metric.
[00:42:59] It is a bit ominous that Putin has selected this new general, Dvornikov, aka — and this is always ominous times a hundred, the butcher of Syria because his brutality against civilians and unarmed combatants was just sort of without equal. That's really not a great vote of confidence that there's going to be less damage to civilians and non-combatants here, right? Does this mean we're going to see even more brutal tactics used in Ukraine, especially against civilians and non-combatants or am I reading into this a little too much?
[00:43:30] Chris Miller: I think what we saw and we describe motivation and doctrine, and it's going to only get worse because leadership actually matters. And the signal that's being sent to the poor conscript on the ground, that's in fighting. In Ukraine, the Russian conscript is now, okay, there are no boundaries. So it's like beyond troubling. You know, the concern is that they'll use chemical weapons. And the thought of that happening again in Europe is beyond disturbing and — gosh, darn — yeah, I think it's a really, really bad sign that they put him.
[00:44:09] Did you know him? Did you run into that guy in Syria? Not run into him for a meeting?
[00:44:14] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:44:14] Chris Miller: I got that, but when you were in Syria, did you know of this?
[00:44:17] Brandon Wheeler: I never got the chance to arm wrestle him. I wanted one — no, I'm just kidding. Yeah, no. So, you know, Jordan, my first time in Syria was '06.
[00:44:24] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:44:25] Brandon Wheeler: And then the longest time I've been there as 18 months. And I think I had a little bit of insight into how incompetent the Russian military was. And I'll tell you this small story. So in the very beginning of, let's say, training men equipmen US in Syria. Russia was trying to basically do the same thing the US was doing with the same people after the first program didn't work out. So there would be like a Kurdish camp where Russians were training them and Kurdish camper Americans were training them. Kind of a weird competition—
[00:44:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:44:53] Brandon Wheeler: And so I remember the Kurdish leadership, military leadership told me, "Hey, the Russians are going to provide air support for us." And I was like, "Okay, let me explain to you what a Russian bomb does when it gets dropped from an aircraft. It goes wherever it goes. It could be like half a mile off target." And then, you know, we've got precision bombs, right? So they didn't believe me until they started calling in Russian, you know, air support. And they realized that they couldn't drop a bomb where they wanted to drop it. And so they stopped asking them to help. So that just gave me some insight into — you know, yes, he's going to be terrible. He's going to be brutal. And Chris said it, you know, the chemical weapons were used under his authority in Syria. So that's a big concern.
[00:45:33] But I think that if you think about, we've got to figure out, is there a threshold where we say Western civilization, the world cannot stand by and let this happen, even though we've let it happen before?
[00:45:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I've heard people say that they expect the Russians to now go through the, I think they call it depopulating an area, which is a euphemism for making an entire city uninhabitable by forcing anyone defending it to live in broken rubble, because there's just nothing left standing. And that's if they don't use chemical weapons to kill everything, but the cockroaches that are crawling over the rest of it. And that's unfortunate to say the least, because it sounds more like World War II style of fighting, right? Going from urban battle to something more open trench warfare with mustard gas, or worse. Trench warfare in the 21st century sounds pretty heinous.
[00:46:23] Brandon Wheeler: Agreed.
[00:46:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So how far will Putin go? This is the question everyone asks on all the corny news channels, right? But you mentioned connecting Transnistria so Moldova — do we think that Putin would then go for the rest of Moldova? Do we think he's going to try and consolidate more in Georgia? Do we think that the Baltic states in other NATO countries are also on the chopping block?
[00:46:44] Chris Miller: We're in Warsaw, Poland right now. We went to a university and did a panel discussion with — how many 50 graduate students?
[00:46:53] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah.
[00:46:53] Chris Miller: Maybe more than that, I could tell you what the Poles think. They think they're next. And they're very, very worried. It's hard for me, you know, as an American, even could think about that, but that is absolutely the concern is Poland is next, Baltics next. And hey, they're a heck of a lot closer to Putin than we are. And let's be honest, they understand him a lot better than we do. It's fun for us to psychoanalyze Vladimir Putin, but they have a whole different relationship and a whole different understanding.
[00:47:22] So like in Warsaw, it's palatable. Like you can feel it. We had a question, like, "Are we going to be attacked with nuclear weapons?" I'm kind of like, "No, I can't imagine. I mean, you have bigger problems to worry about." There was some talk about how would we organize ourselves. "You've got bigger problems if Warsaw is being attacked by nuclear weapons, the world has a much bigger problem at that point," but I'm telling you, you could feel it in the streets. There's a lot of worry, a lot of concern.
[00:47:48] Jordan Harbinger: At this point, it appears everyone, including some Ukrainian officials, although maybe this has changed, appeared to acknowledge that maybe some territory will be lost to Russia — going back to our conversation about consolidating in the east and south. Assuming that this is the case, what longterm assurances of peace between Russia and Ukraine can even realistically be taken or taken seriously, I should say, if Ukraine is forced to stay out of western blocks? You know, if Russia is taking over the east and south and you know, the condition of us not escalating this further is you don't join NATO, you don't join the EU. You don't join whatever else. What guarantees or assurances does Ukraine have that Russia isn't just preparing to drop the hammer again?
[00:48:27] Chris Miller: I think that's been one of the biggest changes I was in Ukraine for the first time this weekend. So I don't have the historical reference, but what I read and what you've said, there's, you know, Mr. Putin consolidated a diverse bunch of political views and there's like a whole different attitude and spirit in Ukraine now, like, fundamental disdain and hatred to the Russians and Mr. Putin. So what I'd expect, there's going to be war exhaustion to a point, and there's, you're going to end up with no more material. There's going to have — there'll be a pause in fighting, but I don't think the Ukraine people are going to accept that. And then what we're going to see is this is going to drag on rearm, reequip, and then fight it out again.
[00:49:08] The Ukrainian people, I did not get the feeling that they're like, "Oh, we're going to cut a deal long term and then the other thing." We got hammered out there on this thing called the Budapest memorandum, which was the agreement after the Cold War that we brokered with Ukraine, Russia, and a couple other countries that nuclear disarm, take the Ukrainian nuclear weapons and there was a security guarantee in there that we would help them if they were attacked. And they brought that up, you know — and you know how we are in America, we can barely remember what we had for dinner the day before. And they went back to that agreement. What was it? 93, 92. And they're like, "How can we trust anyone now?" So I felt like there's a fundamental shift in their belief structure that they can't rely on anybody right now. They have to do it themselves, but they just need — they also recognize they need external support.
[00:50:00] Jordan Harbinger: It's like a similar to Israel kind of like, "Hey, we can only really trust ourselves here because we've already seen this movie."
[00:50:06] Chris Miller: Very much. Yeah, exactly.
[00:50:08] Jordan Harbinger: Speaking of disarming, nuclear republics, or former Soviet Republics with nukes, it seems like a very real worry that if sanctions grind down Russia's economy — well, more than they already have. If the war takes its toll, if there's domestic unrest, I mean, what happens in the next 10 years? Are we going to see Russia break up into a bunch of different medieval ethno kingdoms, some of which have nuclear weapons that they don't want to get rid of at any cost because of what happened to Ukraine? That seems like a very real danger.
[00:50:37] Brandon Wheeler: I think that this is something America's had a really bad history with, you know, toppling regimes and that's never worked out well for us.
[00:50:44] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:50:44] Brandon Wheeler: So we automatically attribute that with — it can't be done. You know, I love my country, but sometimes we're a little bit arrogant and naive or ignorant about certain things. We're like, "Oh, well, if we couldn't do it with all of our money in our big military, then it just can't be done." I fully believe part of the reason why we're in the position we're in — and I've had this conversation with my father — is that there was this belief during his generation. It's like, "Okay, if we defeat the Soviet Union and it crumbles and we just create that spark of freedom, then people are going to figure it out on their own." And what actually happened is the government structure never changed. And so they just traded communism for crony capitalism—
[00:51:21] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:51:21] Brandon Wheeler: —in a mafia type government. And we saw a lot of that in Ukraine, which is why they've had so many revolutions. The government had corruption and the people kept having revolutions saying, "This isn't what we want." And so you really have to fundamentally change the structure of government in order for it to facilitate the protection of individual civil liberties rights and freedoms. If that doesn't happen, it's just going to become some other kind of form, right?
[00:51:44] And so I think that we're going to continue to face this problem unless Russia is broken up into three parts. And I think that if we're smart and we take all of our experience from Iraq and Afghanistan and all the other countries have been involved in, we need to learn as much as we can about Russia, who are the people and the leaders in there that share our values. And we need to start supporting them just like Freedom Research did in the 1980s, when they helped pull a solidarity in Poland and Fidesz in Hungary and the Rukh Movement in Ukraine, which I got to all visit when I was here in 1991. It's amazing to me, when you find the people in civil society who share your values, they can do amazing things. And I think that we have to stop thinking that we need to come in, you know, invade Moscow, depose the government, and like, "Okay guys, we're going to do it for you," because that never works.
[00:52:35] Jordan Harbinger: Isn't Fidesz, they're Orbán's party, right?
[00:52:38] Brandon Wheeler: Correct, yeah. And Victor Orbán obviously is not who he was then.
[00:52:41] Jordan Harbinger: No, he changed a lot. Because when I hear Fidesz isn't that a right-wing populist, nationalist party?
[00:52:47] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah, it is now. And he's also pretty close to Putin, believe it or not.
[00:52:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:52:50] Brandon Wheeler: Just, you know, a wrench in our stomach. So it just shows you that he changed his tune once he got into power and tried to buddy up to Putin because he thought it was convenient for a lot of economic and political reasons.
[00:53:01] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. I was like, am I crazy? Or is that the right-wing crazy hate-Jews party. I just wanted to make sure I had the right name.
[00:53:06] Brandon Wheeler: Hey, you can't win them all, Jordan. Sometimes, you make mistakes.
[00:53:08] Jordan Harbinger: No, no. That's true.
[00:53:09] Some people here in the west, who I can only assume are sitting in an air-conditioned room, think that Ukraine should concede the Eastern part of the country to stop the bloodshed to our earlier points here. But it also seems to me that if Putin gets a ground link to Crimea in the south, from Donbas in the east, they could just use those seaports to bring in heavy forces from the south and then attack the rest of Ukraine. I realized I should have probably tagged this onto our earlier comment, but it just occurred to me that if you can land massive Black Sea transport ships into the country that you're invading, you're probably going to do that.
[00:53:41] Brandon Wheeler: Not just the rest of Ukraine, the rest of Europe.
[00:53:43] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah, good point. Are sanctions working in your opinion?
[00:53:47] Chris Miller: I don't have enough data, but it seems that you see the history of imposing sanctions is not one of a steady stream of success. So I'm a little bit, I'm all about using economic tool for foreign policy, but you see what we try to do in Iran. It's really complicated. And let's be honest, until you cut off the energy market that Russia is still gaining currency on.
[00:54:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:54:13] Chris Miller: We're kind of whistling past the graveyard in my humble opinion. And that's really, I guess my frustration with our current policy. You know that great Winston Churchill — I'm going to paraphrase. What's that great—? Well, he has so many great lines, but it like, "You can count on the Americans to do the right thing after they've tried everything else." I feel we're very much doing the same thing. It's like, "Well, let's throw this against the wall. Maybe that'll work." It's frustrating for me to see this reliance on — can I get like pedantic on you for a moment?
[00:54:41] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:54:41] Chris Miller: So when you're doing strategy, the way strategists are trained in the United States, there are four elements of power. One, it's called the DIME — diplomatic, information, military, and economic, DIME. Easy for us to remember in the military because you have to have some sort of mnemonic device. And so when you combine those four elements that becomes your strategy and you kind of balance them differently based on your desired outcome.
[00:55:07] When you go into a negotiation or go into a situation as we did, when we knew — here's my thing, we've got the intelligence community said that, "Oh my gosh, we're brilliant. Putin is going to invade the Ukraine." He told us that. That's not an intelligence coup by the way, let's be clear about that. That's the going in position. We should have our intelligence community. That's not a high hurdle. So when we knew that this was going to happen, we came up with this elaborate strategy where we were going to use information as a weapon to deter him from achieving his goals — didn't work.
[00:55:44] I'm all right with trying it. Here's my point. Right away, what did we do? We said the military is not an option for addressing the situation in Ukraine. So as soon as you say that, that's the equivalent of me going down to the used car lot and seeing the car and, you know, they want 20,000 for it. I walk in and say, "Hey, I will not give you a penny over $25,000. And if you really, really pressure me, I'll give you 30." You kind of lose your ability to negotiate when you take your most powerful—
[00:56:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:56:13] Chris Miller: And let's be clear, what's Putin, what does he fear more than anything? Power, military power—
[00:56:20] Jordan Harbinger: Hard power, yeah.
[00:56:21] Chris Miller: Hard power. And I was very, very confused by our approach on that, like, "Okay," I was almost like when you get conspiratorial, you're like, "Is that a signal?" And you're trying to like — remember the old? You don't remember the old days in the Cold War where they'd look at, you know, photographs of the Mayday Parade in the Square and they'd be like, "Oh my gosh, he's moved two positions to the left. He must be out of power." I felt like we're kind of doing the same thing where the thing he fears most is power, pure raw power. And we took that off the plate and I'm like, "Is there something going on here?" And I'm not some QAnon crazy. And it's not what I'm saying, but why would we ever do that? Maybe we're just bad negotiators, I don't know.
[00:57:03] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guests, Brandon Wheeler and former Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller. We'll be right back.
[00:57:10] This episode is sponsored in part by SimpliSafe. Named the best home security system by multiple respected publications, SimpliSafe protects your entire home, every door, every window in the room 24/7. So here's a true story. Terry was away for her daughter's wedding. The morning of the big day, she got a call from SimpliSafe 24/7 professional monitoring center. They detected water in her basement, even an inch of flooding, by the way, can cause more than 25 grand in damages. And God forbid you have hardwood floors, then it's a multiple of that. Thankfully, SimpliSafe detected the water just moments after the leak started. So Terry called her neighbor who quickly turned her water off. So the story has a happy ending. Terry enjoyed her daughter's wedding, knowing she'd diverted thousands of dollars in water damage. Protecting against floods is just one more reason that over four million people trust their home protection to SimpliSafe. A comprehensive SimpliSafe system and 24/7 professional monitoring looks out for you with plans under a dollar a day with no long-term contracts or hidden fees ever.
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[01:00:22] Hey everyone. Thank you so much for listening to the show. I really do appreciate it. I love creating the show. By the way, those who support us are the reason I'm able to make all of these episodes for you. So to get links to all the deals you hear on the show, all those URLs, all those codes, you don't have to write them down. They're all in one place. Visit jordanharbinger.com/deals, and please consider supporting those who support us.
[01:00:43] Now for the rest of my conversation with Brandon Wheeler and former Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller.
[01:00:50] Yeah. It seems confusing to me. And also it does — it makes perfect sense that Europe and the rest of the world has to get off the teeth of Russian oil and gas to make the sanctions have real bite if they're going to do anything. But it also, of course, makes sense that hard power is the only thing that Putin understands. I mean, one, that's the mindset of the thug. And two, historically, that's also pretty much always been the case with that part of the world. Unless, I mean, you guys know much more about this history than I do, but it seems like very rarely has — sort of soft power and cultural influence really done the trick. I think maybe people are getting the idea that saved by the bell in Star Wars made the Berlin Wall fall down and maybe they played a part in that, along with Pink Floyd, but not — that wasn't exactly the first or final hammer blow.
[01:01:34] Chris Miller: This sounds cliche, but let's use some sports analogies. It's always good. We are being completely reactive. We're reacting to Putin. So that's why I thought taking the military tool off the table was so inept because that was the one thing that we had available that would have forced him to respond to us. And then you are in a different negotiating position. So that's where — I'm like right now, I feel like we're still kind of playing defense. You can't — well, other than Bill Belichick, you typically can't win the Super Bowl focusing on defense. And so I still feel like we're kind of on our back heel, using more sports analogies, our back foot, and this isn't that difficult, you know, we have to do something to make him react to us. Because right now, I just feel like we're still just kind of like responding and you can't win doing that.
[01:02:23] Jordan Harbinger: Brandon earlier, you said split Russia into three parts or did I misunderstand what you said?
[01:02:27] Brandon Wheeler: No, I did. And you know, it's actually something I've heard before, but it was — there were some leaders in Ukraine who've mentioned it to me. So yeah, that's exactly what I said.
[01:02:37] Jordan Harbinger: What parts would those be?
[01:02:39] Brandon Wheeler: I mean, the geography is, I think probably a little hard to describe, but you could essentially look at like three oblong kind of areas across Russia, and those would be aligned with like major cities that are historically relevant.
[01:02:52] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:02:53] Brandon Wheeler: But once again, you know, what's really important is that this is something that's determined by the Russians and their own will and it's done and built from the ground up, right? So this is a fundamental misconception about how we got involved in a lot of countries is that we went in, toppled central government, and then we built it and kind of ignored the rest of the country's participation in the process. Or at least we did a couple of things to make ourselves feel like we were doing that.
[01:03:17] And I saw this in Afghanistan when I was there days before it collapsed, was that the reason why the Taliban and pickup trucks and guns was able to take over a hundred districts with a megaphone was quite simply because the government was so corrupt and they were stealing our money, our being the US money. There was three people basically did that. And that we're responsible for that. We allowed it to happen. We didn't hold anybody accountable.
[01:03:39] What has to happen is that if we had focused at the district level and said, "You know what, whether you have a central government or not is irrelevant to us. But whether you guys have schools and peace and stability and individual freedoms within your districts, that's great." And think about it. We were colonies before states and states before a federal government. States' rights are supposed to be the most important after individual rights in America, which is why you have the Bill of Rights.
[01:04:02] We've totally lost a sense of what really makes America America. And so we export all of the bad things, the bureaucracy, the big government, the waste of money, the corruption. And don't fool ourselves for a second, America is corrupt. The only difference is we make it a law and say, it's legal. You're still getting undue influence using money. So I think that, you know, forget the three parts I've heard that said by a number of people what's most—
[01:04:25] Jordan Harbinger: You're afraid of lobbying and things like that, right? Just to be clear.
[01:04:28] Brandon Wheeler: Yeah, lobbying and, you know, whatever. I mean, there's—
[01:04:30] Jordan Harbinger: Special interest.
[01:04:31] Brandon Wheeler: —different kinds of, you know, it takes a hundred million to run for president now, and you've got these PACS and super PACS. Like we're not talking about who's the best person for the job it's who can raise the most money, right? So I think we've lost the ball on that a lot, but my point to you is, forget the three parts and think of about how would we support those in Russia to share our values, to build governance from the ground up.
[01:04:54] Jordan Harbinger: How long do we think this conflict goes? You know, how quickly could it end with a withdrawal and including a rebuild of Ukraine on the one end of the timeline and how long do we see this going? If we're talking about long-term insurgency, dare I say it, like Afghanistan.
[01:05:09] Chris Miller: In the east, we expect the Russians to strong point and be very hard to dig out of there. Is that what we're talking about?
[01:05:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Because they're already sort of, I guess, sort of pushed out of the most or much of the rest of the country except in the east and the south, right?
[01:05:22] Chris Miller: Right. Yeah.
[01:05:23] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:05:24] Chris Miller: I don't know. I could speculate. I think there's going to be a pause and then we'll have to see what happens. I think maybe there's this hope that Putin ends up being deposed or just frankly dies of old age. And then this problem disappears. I don't think the problem disappears. I think it's more important that we — and here's the biggest concern they had. They had two things like, "Give us guns, give us guns," they being the Ukrainian leadership. And the other thing was don't forget. And I think Putin is being very cynical and he's — well, maybe he's not being cynical. Maybe he has a great appreciation of Western attention span right now where everybody's on TikTok and Facebook and, you know, worried about why did Will Smith, why did he hit Chris Rock with an open hand, as opposed to a fist and we had these existential debates about the meaning of all that. And I think there's a very cynical view that we'll forget. And we'll just be like, "Oh Ukraine. Yeah. I gave some money to them. I texted some money." And then this thing just becomes this long drawn out war that no one ever really pays attention to. "Oh yeah. I remember the Ukraine. Is that still going on?" Hey, let's be honest. That happened with the United States and Afghanistan.
[01:06:31] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:06:32] Chris Miller: Heck towards the end of that thing, people would, "Wait, what? We're still in Afghanistan." I'm like, "Yes." And so I think there's probably a degree of that might even be built into his strategic approach. Now, he has had to modify a strategic approach because he didn't achieve rapid victory, but that's kind of my two cents' worth.
[01:06:49] Brandon Wheeler: I think there's really two parts. And this is really interesting because I hear this a lot. We always think of war in a binary term. We're either at war or we're not, right? And it's a gray scale. So I think that if you really look at what's going on in the world, there is a new world order, and I'm not the first person to say this. Bernard-Henri Lévy says in his book, many people are saying who really understand what's going on. You've got Russia, you've got China, you've got Iran. You've got what I call the Islamic fascists, which have Sunni and Shia variants. And just to be clear, nothing against Islam at all, but people who use religion as a way to take away individual freedoms and then justify violence in the process that is fascism. And remember, the first fascists were Catholic. So it has nothing to do with the religion.
[01:07:32] But the point is that when you ask, how long can this go on? And Chris said it earlier. I mean, the resolve of the Ukrainian people is just unbelief. So, you know, what war really is, is two opposing wills. And we have all of these countries imposing their will on America every day, all over the world. And we see it continuously, whether it's crony capitalists, purchasing ports or airports through the Chinese, or, you know, the Wagner Group using private military contractors in Africa, we could go on and on and on of what we're seeing happening. The only difference is we're not responding. We're not doing anything really of substance to impose our will on them.
[01:08:09] I don't see that from the Ukrainian people. I think what they'll do is this war will continue until they get their country back and it could go on forever. You know, Burma has been the longest continuous war of over 80 years now and they're still fighting. So I see the Ukrainian people the same way, how the fight occurs and the variation depends on material and all that other stuff, but I don't see them ever quitting and it'll go into some kind of insurgency or something.
[01:08:33] Chris Miller: And Jordan, the American taxpayers spend an enormous amount of money to send me to great school and learn about history and strategy. And I learned from geniuses and I originally thought that, you know, international relations and there's very nuanced and there are different approaches and there are different approaches, but this one sample with Putin, here's what I've learned. And having spent way too much time waging our nation's wars and seeing how it actually works in the ground, as opposed to the salons in Georgetown or in seminar rooms that I've attended is, you know, you're going to pay now or you're going to pay later.
[01:09:09] And I think that's the fundamental question that we have to answer as the United States and as the West. Sure, we can do a drip, drip, drip approach to this, and just hope— you know, hope is not a course of action, great quote, and hope that, you know, this all kind of resolves the Ukrainians do good enough and everybody kind of moves on and we go back to business as normal. That's not going to happen. And this is literally the fight for the future of the Western world.
[01:09:34] And you could say maybe it's just personality dependent. It's based on a charismatic leader like Putin, and we'll find that out, but we can't count on that right now. And Polish people can't count on that. If you're sitting up in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia right now, you can't count on hope being like, we hope this is going to end.
[01:09:49] So in summary, I'm just like, we have to stand up now. This is the fight — this is the pivot point in history. We've got to recognize that this is just not a passing thing, you know, and this is the one, this is the fight for the future of the Western world, I think. And I'm strongly believed that I wouldn't be here otherwise.
[01:10:08] Jordan Harbinger: In closing, you know, look, the media cycle spent 20 years focusing on the Middle East, which you are very familiar with. And then two years focusing on COVID. Now, we're on Ukraine. Whatever happened to the Middle East, is whatever happening over there just no longer a threat to us? You know, we pulled out under a great alarm and duress, and now you hear nothing. Like it almost never happened. And one of our longest wars just ended because the US just pulled everyone out and that's it. So what's going on there and when is it going to bite us in the butt? That's my question. That's my final drop here because it seems like we're just ignoring this big thing that used to be a massive deal. And now, it's radio silence.
[01:10:46] Brandon Wheeler: It's really bizarre, Jordan. Because everybody talks about the world now as this interconnected place. You know, we get information faster, you can travel anywhere, but when it comes to conflict, we just think in isolated terms — and I'm sure Chris is going to be able to say his piece on this because I've heard him say it really well about being able to do more than one thing at a time. But the point here is we've got to think about conflict from a global standpoint, we've got to be able to build, and particularly in the Middle East, which was your question.
[01:11:14] Look, Iran has a land bridge all the way from Tehran to the Mediterranean across Iraq, across Syria. And they also have air bridges. You've got Turkey trying to expand the Ottoman empire, using private military contractors, special forces in Afghanistan. And then, of course, One Belt One Road from China going all the way across the globe using exploitative economic practices. And so this is happening in real-time, and Americans have to realize that it may take a while for us to feel the effects at home, but it's going to happen. You're not going to be able to travel to certain countries. You're not able to do business in certain places. The dollar is going to start to lose its value. You're not going to be safe. And then by that point, you're three or four years into this, and it's like, not too late, but the cost of getting it back is going to be so high.
[01:12:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that is absolutely one of my major worries about this is that we're focused on this. And a lot of other bad actors are using it as cover.
[01:12:07] Chris Miller: And Jordan, it's going to sound so — I don't know the word. It's a curse word, so I won't use it, but you know, the fact that you're taking time to have us on your show and you've done many shows on the Ukraine is an example of — I looked at your list. You had Dennis Rodman, Mark Cuban, T-Pain, Matthew McConaughey, Dennis Quaid, Malcolm Gladwell, just to name a few—
[01:12:32] Jordan Harbinger: All foreign policy experts, as you are aware.
[01:12:34] Chris Miller: Yeah. You got Brendan and Chris, and this will be the lowest ratings you get, your producers, and whoever's running the podcast empire these days. I can't keep up because it changes like every 30 minutes who's like the biggest podcast owner. And your audience — the fact that you're doing this and paying attention to it. And I know you're all about real intelligent talk. I get that and I really appreciate that because we need more of that. And podcast forum is really great for this, but you don't have to take this one on. And the fact that you're taking this on and trying to help educate people — because here's my thing, our nation spends 813 billion — that's with a B — billion dollars a year on national security. It's actually probably—
[01:13:13] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:13:13] Chris Miller: —closer to a trillion. That's a trillion—
[01:13:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:13:16] Chris Miller: That's a lot of money. And when you see the pie chart, you know, in the New York Times or The Washington Post, usually does it where they show how like the Department of Defense is like huge. It's like a pie. And then everything else is this little small, little circle. You know, the amount of money we spend on our national security — I'm worried that the American public has lost focus, the most important decisions we make, as American citizens, are those war and peace because it affects everyone.
[01:13:45] I'll just go off on a tangent real quick. The problem is when only one percent of Americans, seven percent are veterans, the cost gets is extremely concentrated. And then that worries me. The point on this is having these discussions is really important and $813 billion a year, we can actually do more than one thing. You talked about the Middle East. There's this idea that the military is overstretched. Well, we need to think about how we do national defense and national security, and that's a discussion for another time.
[01:14:14] It's one of those things that people just don't pay attention to that much anymore. I've got to tell you that my kids are in their 20s. My kids, you know, they could tell you everything about Kim Kardashian and what Britney Spears is doing and whatnot. One of them could tell you how many there are Supreme Court justices there are. The other two would be, "I don't know, don't care." They really are paying attention to this. I mean, this is really powerful for them. And Zelensky has been incredible. Like he's a hero to them and to see that, and they actually — you know, my son called up and like, "Dad, what's article five about NATO." I literally dropped my phone. I was like, I had a seizure because I'd never heard of that. It's there's something going on in this country. And this Ukraine thing bothers us a great deal.
[01:14:55] You brought it up earlier. There are people that are asking these questions. So we've got to take this as an opportunity to discuss what our role in the world is. And that's the decision the American people have to take. Maybe that's our election process. Maybe that's something — how many national security questions got asked during the last few days? I think it was like two during the last presidential debates I met.
[01:15:16] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. I got you.
[01:15:17] Chris Miller: I think that's going to change. So I'm just going to say, great quote, you know, Lennon said, "There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen." And we are in those weeks right now and the Ukrainian people are out there, like literally defending us and we got to do more, man. We just got it. We have to support them. Because they're willing to do the fighting and the dying and the wounding that's occurring in there. It's just horrifying, but all they want, they don't want us to forget, and they just want our support.
[01:15:45] So thanks for doing this and making sure that the American people are learning about this, and we're not forgetting those folks out there that are fighting and dying.
[01:15:53] Jordan Harbinger: Chris Miller, Brandon Wheeler, thank you very much for doing the show this morning.
[01:15:59] You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with Ukrainian journalist and civilian turned military defense fighter.
[01:16:05] Yuriy Matsarsky: When the war started, it was five o'clock in the morning. I was woke up by rockets which were intercepted by Ukrainian anti-missile system right under the roof of the house I lived. When I finished my job and I went home, when I was underground, even in subway, even in train, you can listen, you can hear the bombs and rockets which were falling on your city. For only two weeks, Russia destroyed more houses inside Kharkiv than when Nazis destroyed Europe with whole Second World War. You can see with tanks and bombs from planes were targeting the buildings, the flats, the houses, not the military facilities. They're targeting first of all the civilians. That's why I said much worse, even than ISIS. It's just such brutality, unimaginable brutality.
[01:16:57] So I decided that I must join the army. I took my journalist helmet with huge white letters "press" on it. And I took my daughter's black markers and they painted all these white letters with black into a war helmet — reinventing myself from a journalist to soldier. You know we have to have a lot of trenches all around Kyiv. We have a lot of trenches inside Kyiv, so we are ready for a trench war, but almost every house, almost every flat in Kyiv, is some kind of fleet to fortress because almost all the people, which is still in Kyiv were army in some way or another.
[01:17:39] So if Russians will come, we have guns fired from every second window. People prepare a lot of cocktails, millions of bottles of Molotov cocktails in the Ukraine, ready to be used on Russian tanks and Russian troops. So we are preparing for a battle in trenches. We are preparing for a protective Kyiv and not letting these bastards to get into our capital, but we are also preparing for a guerilla war inside our cities, even inside Kyiv.
[01:18:10] Putin and people all around him, they don't want us to exist. We will win or we will die. It's out of the question.
[01:18:19] Jordan Harbinger: To hear what it's like on the ground for Ukrainian defenders, check out episode 638 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:18:27] If these topics interest you, you definitely go back and check out episode 640 with Peter Zeihan. That was where we covered a lot of the basics of the Ukraine conflict, whether this is NATO's fault, what we can do, where the war might be going, what it's going to do to the food supply. That one got very high marks from all of you. And I have to say this war is just getting more and more disgusting as time goes on but now is the pivotal moment. Now is the time where Ukraine can really punch back and make sure that the bully that is Vladimir Putin knows that he can't just run rough shot over Europe, over the West, over NATO, over Eastern Europe for that matter and make the entire world a mess.
[01:19:01] This is really, really something that's going to be generational defining. And we're just now hearing about all of the horrors going on in this conflict. And so hopefully, we can see an end to this sometime during this year, but I have to admit, I am not that hopeful for this. And you know what? Congrats Putin, Russia's actions here have consolidated the entire free world, the Western world anyway. Sweden and Finland are now discussing NATO membership. Germany's rearming, NATO and the entire West is sending arms to Ukraine. Congrats, Putin, you've made America great again, unbelievable.
[01:19:30] Thanks to Brandon Wheeler and former Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller for coming on the show today. Pulling a quick turnaround over there to join us live from Poland. They actually invited me to go with them to Ukraine. Alas, those adventurous days are behind me with two little kids here.
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[01:20:27] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's interested in the Ukraine conflict and the possible outcomes thereof, definitely share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on this show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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