Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

In this episode of Intelligence Matters, host Michael Morell speaks with Will Hurd, a former CIA officer and Republican Congressman from Texas who served on the House Intelligence Committee. Morell and Hurd, who is the author of the new book, “American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done,” discuss a range of domestic challenges – including immigration, political division, and adapting to advanced technologies – that may pose broader national security threats. They also discuss the U.S. policy toward Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion and America’s preparedness for long-term competition with China. 

HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • U.S. policy toward Ukraine: “I think we’ve given a lot and we’ve supported a lot. I wouldn’t negate any of that. I’m of the opinion that we can be providing more. And then when Vladimir Putin is continuing to level death and destruction – and what he did to Mariupol, he can do in other parts of the country. And that’s a sign that the Russians are afraid of us.  And so we have an important role in the world, but it requires our policymakers and elected officials to communicate that role to the public… [W]e’ve always got to be constantly making the case of why this matters, why our activities in other parts of the world matters back here at home.” 
  • How a protracted war in Ukraine benefits Russia: “[M]y concern is, the longer this conflict goes on, it benefits Russia. Because our Eastern European allies are going to be feeling the pressures of a community living under the threat of war. The closer you are to Russia, the more sanctions and secondary sanctions impact you, and then the growing humanitarian crisis of Ukrainians in these countries. I think it was last month, Warsaw said their population increased 14%. Imagine if D.C. or Austin, Texas, you know, their population increased 14% in a month…The more pressures you put on those governments, the more pressures you’re going to get you’re going to see in the Western alliance.” 
  • Adapting to rapid technological change: “[W]e have to be at a point where we’re able to take advantage of technology before it takes advantage of us. Now, there’s also exciting – these tools are going to allow us to, are ready right now to detect cancers years in advance, which means a longer life. Is helping with the climate issue because it’s allowing farmers to increase crop production with less water, with less land, with less energy. That’s awesome… And the technological explosion we’re going to see in the next 47 years is going to make the last 47 years, since the since the invention of the personal computer, look like we were monkeys playing in the dirt with sticks. It’s exciting, but we’ve got to be ready for it.”

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INTELLIGENCE MATTERS – WILL HURD

PRODUCER: OLIVIA GAZIS

  
MICHAEL MORELL: Will, welcome back to Intelligence Matters. It’s great to have you on the show again. And it’s just plain good to talk with you.

WILL HURD: It’s a pleasure, as always, to be with you. I’m looking forward to the conversation so well.

MICHAEL MORELL: You’ve just published a great new book. It’s called, “American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done.” So congratulations on that. I know that writing a book is not easy, so, congrats.

WILL HURD: Thank you. 

MICHAEL MORELL: I want to start with a question that I think gets to the heart of the first two sections of your book. And here’s the question: I’ve had politicians on the show before from both sides of the aisle, and almost every time that I’ve done that, I’ve gotten pushback from my listeners. And what they say to me, if I could sum it up, is, “I’m done with politicians. I’m done with partisanship. I’m done with politics being about scoring points,” – from both Democrats and Republicans.

So how do you respond to that critique that I get when when I have politicians on the show?

WILL HURD: Well, I would agree with the people that are digging you. First, look, here’s what happens. Right now, 72% of the country thinks the country is on the wrong track. And part of that – and that’s been growing for some time. And there is a lack of trust amongst the American public with a number of our institutions, primarily our politicians.

And part of that, what is driving that lack of trust is what I would say is ideological inconsistency. Where people – and this applies to both parties – that people don’t act the same way when their person’s in power or the other person’s in power. And so I think that’s part of the frustration, mostly.

And look, this is how you, in the last 30 years, win a campaign. You create contrasts. So if you win campaigns by creating contrasts between you and your opponent, what are you always doing? Creating contrasts. And so I would bet that some of the people that you might not get pushback on are people that are actual, real problem-solvers, that are talking about real issues, that are not just relying on tired talking points from either side. And in essence, it is, the country is ready for people to solve real problems, not just complain about them.

MICHAEL MORELL: And this is what the first couple of sections of your book are about. Talk about that a little bit.

WILL HURD: Sure. So, look, my my thesis is simple. There’s a number of generational-defining challenges that the country is currently faced with, will be faced with, and in order to solve them, we have to get beyond our politics and way our politics are now and that our politics is gumming up the system.

Now, I’m a Republican, so I talk about how to improve the Republican Party and that the Republican Party needs to look more like America. And everybody should care about this, not just Republicans. Democrats should care. Independents should care. People that don’t vote should care. Because in order to to solve these generational-defining challenges, we need a true competition of ideas between both parties.

And then I also talk about how our national leadership, more of our national leaders are interested in fear-mongering rather than inspiring. And so I try to give some examples of how your actions can be based on your values. Your audio and your video must match, meaning the things you do need to be reflected in the things you say.

That also leads to this this trust deficit that the public has with our elected officials. And I go through, I explain some stories and from my experiences, whether it was in when I was in the CIA as a case officer or representing a truly swing district that was along the Texas-Mexico border, about how I was able to transcend some of those things and how a black Republican could win in a 71% Latino district.

And I was only able to win because I solved problems and I got rewarded by Independents and Democrats for actually being a problem-solver, not just a bomb-thrower.

MICHAEL MORELL: So, Will, you, in your book, focus on the Republican Party. But I’m wondering – and I’m not, looking for a critique of the Democrats, here – but do they need to do the same thing? Do they need to move to a place where they’re more representative of the folks who look to them?

WILL HURD: 100%. And the only case you need to know that undergirds my answer is the upcoming 2022 election. I say that there was two lessons from the 2020 election: Don’t be a jerk and Don’t be a socialist. Unfortunately, Republicans try to be bigger jerks and Democrats try to be bigger socialists.

In 2022 – and this is not me getting political – most pundits, and Democratic pundits would say the same thing, I think even President Obama alluded to this when he was most recently at the White House: the House Democrats are going to lose the House in ’22. And most prognosticators would say that momentum is on the Republican side to take the Senate back.

Why is that? Now, the lesson Republicans are going to take away from the 2022 election is that, ‘The country loves us.’ No, that’s not the lesson. The lesson is that the American public does not like where the Democratic Party is trying to take the country. It’s not about, they’re not doing enough. It’s that they don’t like the things that they are doing.

And so the fact that you’re going to see significant losses in the House in 2022 by Democrats is something that they should be rethinking.

Let’s just look at an area that I know: South and west Texas. There are five members of the House that are along the Texas-Mexico border. I was the only Republican of those five when I was in. My replacement is still the only Republican along the border. Most likely after this next election, three of the five Texas border congresspeople will be Republicans, potentially a fourth. That’s huge. And that is going to be fueled by Latinos on the border voting for Republicans.

And so I think that should be a wake up call for the Democratic Party to say, ‘Hey, are we reflecting in the things that we say and do where the majority of the country is?’ And my answer is that it’s no. But just like Republicans have a hard time learning lessons from elections, I think Democrats do the same thing.

MICHAEL MORELL: So this concept of fear-mongering versus inspiring, in terms of leadership. I think that’s right on. You can’t run an organization through fear-mongering. You have to inspire. The same is true of a country, with certainty. And I’m wondering, if you look back in American history, if you would pick a Republican who you think led through inspiration, through inspiring, and a Democrat who you think led through inspiring.

WILL HURD: Well, I think the historical example on the Democratic side is probably FDR, and on the Republican side is Ronald Reagan. I would go back to, in recent history, George W. Bush. I always talk about how that moment, after 9/11 when he was in New York and he says, ‘I hear you,’ right, and, ‘The rest of the world, we hear you.’ I like that and I think that’s an example.

I think President Obama got elected because of his message of hope and that was trying to to inspire and trying to inspire people. So I think those are good examples.

But the problem that we have is, over the last 30 years, most political prognosticators think the best way to get anything done is when you have one-party control, meaning the same party controls the Senate, the House and the White House. That’s actually the worst way to govern. When you think of any pieces of legislation that we remember – the Civil Rights Act of ’64, the Voting Rights Act of ’65, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Clean Water Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act, the First Step Act – all these things that we know as legislation that have held the test of time, they were all done when different parties held the House and the Senate and the White House.

And so that’s where we have to get back to. You can see how this is complicating our foreign policy as well, this notion that everything can be done by Executive Order is also a bad idea. And so whether it is the the back-and-forth on the Paris Accord or on the Iran deal or even policy in Ukraine, when you’re not working with a fundamental consensus because the executive branch has a hard time working with the other party, then you’re going to have this inconsistency within our foreign policy.

And that impacts our allies. Our allies don’t know what’s going on. Our enemies don’t know what we’re doing or potentially up to and can take advantage of that. So, this concept that you can do things with only your own people – history tells us that’s the worst way to govern.

MICHAEL MORELL: So, Will, the third section of your book is where you really get into ideas on how to solve a set of really hard domestic problems. You throw global warming into that section as well.

And I just want to want to ask about a couple of the issues you raised there, but I want to make something crystal clear to my listeners. You know, we focus on national security issues on this podcast. But the most important determinant – and Will, I think you would agree with me here – the most important determinant of a country’s national security is the health of its economy and the health of its society.

And without a healthy economy and society, there is no U.S. leadership role in the world. There is no ability to spend the resources to protect ourselves. There is no national security.

So the reason to talk about these domestic issues on Intelligence Matters is that, at the end of the day, they matter to national security. So I have a strong belief and I just wonder if you want to comment on that before we move on here.

WILL HURD: Look, I agree 100%, Michael. We’ve been able to become a superpower because our economy became the most important economy in the world. And that happened because we were able to build trade alliances. You know, helping to have 72 years of peace and prosperity in Europe allowed the U.S. and European economies to represent half of global GDP.

And so you’re absolutely right. And that’s why when we can’t get our own house in order, there’s consequences overseas. And that is – I couldn’t agree more with your precept. And that’s actually because of the strength of our economy gives us the foundation for not just our hard power, but our soft power and being able to export our culture and tastes and preferences all over the world.

MICHAEL MORELL:Absolutely. So, Will, you start your third section with a piece called, “Keep the Baby. Get rid of the bathwater.” And I want you to talk about that.

But let me preface this by saying that I spend a lot of time on college campuses talking with students. And capitalism is not a popular thing. It has a bad rap. The word is almost spoken with disdain. So talk about that. “Keep the baby, but get rid of the bathwater.”

WILL HURD: Yeah. And the premise is that the way to solve our current problems is not getting rid of the existing system that has gotten us here, which is democratic capitalism. And that, yes, there are people that have not benefited from our system. And the way you solve that problem is to give special attention to those people that aren’t benefiting, not changing the entire system wholesale.

And also, when people talk about, the, what are the alternatives, and it would be a growing sense of democratic socialism. And look, democratic socialism is about factors of production being controlled by workers or a collective. Okay. And it’s funny, that system has been tried a little bit over a dozen times, almost two dozen times around the world. And it’s never worked. It’s never worked. It’s never been successful.

And so, one, we have to make the case why it’s so important. Two, we also have to make the case that people that aren’t helping benefit. And how do you do that? I think it starts with addressing income inequality. We have income inequality because we have education inequality. And the best way to help and ensure that people are able to move up the economic ladder their entire life is to eliminate education inequality.

I also think our system needs to be based on empowering people, not empowering the government. I want individuals to make decisions on what kind of health care they get and where they go to get that health care. I want individuals to decide what kind of business they’re able to create and how and who, what kind of employees that they hire. I want individuals to decide where their kids should go to school and the kinds of things that their kids do into their future.

And so that has what’s powered the most important economy, but when those that haven’t benefited, we help. And I give some examples in the book of the times that the way I learned how to how to solve problems is, solve a problem for a particular individual.

And there was a young lady that was in my district. She had M.S., the neuromuscular disease, and she needed a certain kind of wheelchair. And Medicare refused to reimburse that kind of wheelchair.

And she came to us and we looked into it, and we were able to fix the problem for her. And then guess what? Because we fixed it for her, we figured out how to fix it for hundreds of thousands of people. And so to me, it’s about about finding those individuals that are not benefiting from the system, understanding why that person not benefiting for it and then solving it for an individual. And when you’re able to solve it for an individual, you’re going to be able to solve for everybody else that has that same problem.

MICHAEL MORELL: So I don’t want to take a deep dive here into political philosophy, but I do want to ask you a question. So what you just espoused – the individual is responsible, that’s where we should put the responsibility, that’s where we should put the control – is in contrast to a more liberal view, which is, ‘The government should be making those decisions.’

What’s at the root, what do you think is at the root of that fundamental difference in political philosophy?

WILL HURD: Well, I think it is a view of some utopian society, right. And I think the difference is that people are going to operate in their best selves in some, you know, egalitarian ideals where capitalism and democracy is based on the reality that people are going to do ultimately what’s in their best interests. And I think it’s ultimately that it’s that simple.

And I also believe that we fail to understand how fragile our systems are. Democracy is fragile. And, you know, we call the American government an experiment. We call it an experiment because when we started it, nobody thought it was going to work. We were the only ones trying to do it. It was wasn’t till 60 years later that Switzerland was a democracy. There’s only 14 countries that have been in democracy for more than 100 years.

And so – but for us, we think this is the only, you know, that there can’t be anything else and that other things haven’t been tried. Well, they have been tried and and they have failed. And this is the system that has has endured and produced the best quality outcomes.

MICHAEL MORELL: I would also mention that – and this is something I talk to kids about all the time, when they’re talking to me about capitalism – is when China switched from straight socialism to capitalism is when hundreds of millions of Chinese were pulled out of poverty. Capitalism did that, right? Not Chinese socialism.

WILL HURD: Absolutely. And it’s China’s form of government that is in turning their ethnic minorities in concentration camps and using their data to try to control them, right. Like, you know, concentration of power in the hands of the few is never is never a good thing because that power ultimately gets abused.

MICHAEL MORELL: Yeah. So let me ask you about two other issues in the domestic section. One is immigration. This is really important.

WILL HURD: Yeah. Look, it’s the longest chapter in the book, and it’s the one that probably frustrates me the most. You know, I think I was the only member of Congress to have ever stamped visas. That was my my day job. And then I did my real stuff at night when I was back in the government. And I was also responsible for going across – I may or may not have criss-crossed borders in alias.

And so at the end of the day, immigration and border security are connected. And the crisis that we’re seeing at the border right now is the worst it’s ever been. And one of the ways that we should be addressing this crisis, not only is it, don’t treat everybody like an asylum seeker and dismantling the infrastructure that is used to move people.
DHS is projecting potentially up to 400,000 people a month coming across our border illegally. It’s hard to get from Tegucigalpa to Eagle Pass, okay. And there’s a lot of infrastructure that needs to be dismantled. So you need to do all those things.

And we should also be streamlining legal immigration. Every industry needs workers. And in this day and age, we should be sophisticated enough to be able to add worker visas, whether Texas needs hospitality and Florida needs agriculture, and California needs stevedores. We should be able to adjust worker visas to be able to do that.
Also, if the Chinese government is going to steal our technology and our intellectual property, but still, they’re engineers. Let’s make sure, if some kid from China is getting a Ph.D. in data analytics at Texas A&M University, that when they graduate, that they’re going to come work for a great American business or start a company here, not go back to China.

And so all of these things can be done at the same time. And this – and oh, and by the way, when we’re dealing with inflation and concerns of a recession, it’s good to add more people to the taxpayers base. And so that’s another thing that why streamlining legal immigration and benefiting from what I talk about, how we’ve benefited from the brain gain we have in the country. Let’s continue that.

And what’s so frustrating about all this, all these things I just laid out, most Democrats and Republicans agree. Immigration and being able to have operational control of our border, meaning we know everything that’s coming back and forth and streamlining legal immigration – 70% of Democratic primary voters agree with this and 70% of Republican voters agree with this. However, which goes back to what we first talked about, and that is politicians on both sides would rather use this issue as a political bludgeon against each other rather than a problem to solve and go into an election. Be like, ‘Hey, look at us. We solved this problem.’

MICHAEL MORELL: Will, you just said something that’s really important. The things you talk about in the first two sections have to get fixed before you can fix the many issues you lay out in the third section of the book. And then it flows eventually to our role in the world.

But there’s a step by step process here in terms of what has to happen in order to get the reboot you’re talking about. Let me ask you about your approach to global warming.

WILL HURD: Mm hmm. So I think we we need to reframe the conversation a little bit. And what I mean, that this is not about us preventing, you know, us hurting the Earth. Mother Nature is undefeated. There have been five extinction events, and we’re beginning a sixth extinction event. This is about preventing Mother Earth from doing something to hurt us and to wipe us, wipe humans off of the planet.

And so this is about protecting ourselves. And I think, you know, I try to talk in conservative circles that way to get people to understand the importance of this.

MICHAEL MORELL: And you don’t sound like a Republican talking right now, right.

WILL HURD: Well, but here’s what’s fascinating to me. You talk about when you’re on college campuses. If you talk to any Republican under the age of 35, if you’re wrong on this issue, they’re not going to listen to you.

MICHAEL MORELL: Interesting.

WILL HURD: And so young conservatives are equally focused on this particular issue. And it’s complicated. There is, I think, the number – I go into this in the book – there are still people that don’t have power. There are people that don’t have clean water to have food. Like getting to net zero emissions is going to mean we’re going to have to still rely on some hydrocarbons as we evolve. We’re going to have to have a strategy to deal with nuclear. We’re going to have to have investments in technologies that are better at carbon capture. All of these things are complicated and it requires us to have a serious conversation.

And we should have a debate between Republicans and Democrats on what the best way to align regulatory incentives and tax incentives in order to achieve some of these and in order to get to these tools that are going to help make sure that we prevent a sixth extinction event from happening on Earth.

And my fear, though, is some of the callousness that I think was met with a significant loss of life during COVID is an indication of how the death and destruction we’re going to see from climate change is going to happen over time. It’s going to happen in communities that actually weren’t, you know, probably the least people involved in contributing to global warming.

And so this notion where people finally get scared and it’s in their face, we might be already past the point of no return when the majority of the communities recognize that.

MICHAEL MORELL: And you’re right back, I think, to leadership. And recognizing what needs to change and inspiring the nation behind you. You’re right back to that first section of your book.

WILL HURD: Well, all these things are connected.

MICHAEL MORELL: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I want to move on to the next section of the book, but I want folks to know that I skipped over some extremely important issues, domestic issues that you write about.
Most importantly, you go deep on health care, which is incredibly important, and you go deep on education, which you’ve already just briefly talked about, but you go deep on – folks can read the book and read about those issues and how you think about them.

The fourth section of the book is about the U.S. role in the world. So how would you highlight the key points in that section?

WILL HURD: Here’s what I’ve learned in my 21 years associated with the national security community. And it boils down to a simple philosophy: Your friends should love you and your enemies should fear you. And that requires knowing exactly who your friends are and who your enemies are. You have to be clear about that. And recognizing that our hard power is based on our soft power. And our soft power is based on our values.

And so America’s role in the world, we have benefited from an international order that we have supported with our soft and our hard power that has led to economic growth in the United States and has helped improve quality of life around the world. And so this notion that foreign policy – I always tell people foreign policy is not foreign. So always easier to solve problems before they hit our shores. And it’s always better to have a policy. It’s good to have friends. And this is what makes us unique.

Because the – and Michael, correct me if I’m wrong, the the Chinese government and the Russian government, they don’t have allies. Right. They have satellites. And we’re able to build alliances and friends and so that’s how I would boil things down. And look, you know, you and I have had debates on Ukraine. But when I use this frame for Ukraine, when President Zelenskyy is asking for us to do more and provide more equipment, that’s a sign your friends aren’t really in love with you.

You know, I think we’ve given a lot and we’ve supported a lot. I wouldn’t negate any of that. I’m of the opinion that we can be providing more. And then when Vladimir Putin is continuing to level death and destruction – and what he did to Mariupol, he can do in other parts of the country. And that’s a sign that the Russians are afraid of us.

And so we have an important role in the world, but it requires our policymakers and elected officials to communicate that role to the public. The public understands how we’re connected to Ukraine and Russia right now because of the price of filling up their cars and the price of food increasing because of this conflict. So it’s exceptionally acute right now, but we’ve always got to be constantly making the case of why this matters, why our activities in other parts of the world matters back here at home.

MICHAEL MORELL: So how would you grade the administration on Ukraine with regard to your view of how we should conduct foreign policy?

I mean, it sounds – I don’t want put words in your mouth – but it sounds like you think they’re doing pretty well, but you’d like them to do a little bit more.

WILL HURD: You know, I would maybe say, look, C-plus, B minus, B? We always want to talk about escalation and that if we do something, this is going to escalate the conflict. And, you know, in 2015, when there were debates about whether we should be sending Javelins to Ukraine to help defend against the Russians, there was a debate that’s going to escalate and cause the Russians to do more. At the beginning of this year, there was debates about if we do economic sanctions now, that’s going to cause them to invade Ukraine. We got that wrong.

Trying to understand second, third, fourth and fifth order of effects, I think is incredibly difficult. And so for me, it’s about first principles. And the first principle in my case in this situation is, how do you prevent the massacre of innocent people? And then also, we need to be prepared that if we, when we do provide more support to to deal with the Russian response, I don’t know if 20 Polish MiGs will change the tide of of the conflict, but let’s give them to the Ukrainians and figure this out.

Putin’s having a hard enough time in Ukraine dealing with just the Ukrainians. He’s not going to want to increase efforts to have the Poles get involved, who has a larger military and just as sophisticated, if not more sophisticated than the Ukrainians. They don’t want to see French fighters flying over Ukraine. And so I think Putin knows that that escalation will lead to, you know, ultimately his downfall in Ukraine.

And my concern is, the longer this conflict goes on, it benefits Russia. Because our Eastern European allies are going to be feeling the pressures of a community living under the threat of war. The closer you are to Russia, the more sanctions and secondary sanctions impact you, and then the growing humanitarian crisis of Ukrainians in these countries.

I think it was last month, Warsaw said their population increased 14%. Imagine if D.C. or Austin, Texas, you know, their population increased 14% in a month. The pressures that put. The more pressures you put on those governments, the more pressures you’re going to get you’re going to see in the Western alliance. And then you see a lack of support from the Ukrainians.

So, you know, is a diplomatic solution – are we closer to that? I don’t think there’s anything that Ukrainians are willing to offer that the Russians will be able to accept. And so can we be giving more heavy weaponry to the Ukrainians in order to push the Russians out of the country? That’s where I think our policy should be.

MICHAEL MORELL: Will, the last section of your book is focused on technology. It’s really all about China and the fight over the technologies of the future, as well as the important issue of cyber. What do you want folks to walk away with from that section?

WILL HURD: Look, the reason I wrote it is to recognize that this is not about America becoming our best selves. We have to be our best selves because we’re in a competition with the Chinese government. And the Chinese government is trying to surpass the United States of America as the global superpower. And they’re doing this by by being the global leader in a number of advanced technologies – 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, hypersonics things in the biotech space, about 12 to 14 of these kinds of technologies.

And in order for us to compete, we need to make sure that the public sector and the private sector are working together, and we’re working with our allies on keeping American global leadership in these technologies. Vladimir Putin said back in 2014, ‘Whoever masters AI masters the world.’ I think this is probably the only thing I agree with him on.

Because these tools are going to be so powerful. So I’m on the board of a technology company and we just introduced a product where you can use text to create an image. You can say, “Create an impressionist version of the Mona Lisa painting, as if it’s a watercolor.” And a couple of seconds later you get 20 different images, and it’s powerful. It didn’t scour the Internet to find an image like this. It creates a new image pixel by pixel. ‘

Now, we’ve put some security restraints in there to prevent deepfakes of individuals and of people. But the Chinese government doesn’t care about that. You want to talk about the meddling in our elections and how the Russians use social media in 2016 in order to try to influence elections. Imagine that they have tools this powerful. And so that is why the future of conflict is not just in cyberspace. It’s in the entire technology space and quantum computing.

Why does this matter? The most immediate thing is quantum computers could be able to break all the encryption that we currently use to protect not just our communications, but all of our financial flows, whether it’s in our bank, whether it’s on the stock market, the ability – whoever reaches quantum supremacy to really impact global economies is pretty significant.

You know, you and I are old enough to remember Y2K. I was in college when Y2K happened. And I was going to drive from San Antonio to Dallas to see my girlfriend at the time. And I was kind of freaking out because it’s like, ‘Y2K is going to happen. Who knows?’ And nothing happened.

Why? We spent $1,000,000,000,000 and four years working on that and being prepared for that situation. We need to be doing something similar for quantum computing and in making sure that we have quantum resilient encryption in everything of any significance that we use.

And so these are complicated issues to think about. If we think social media is bad – and social media was able that, in sharing pictures we’re going to see it increases the likelihood that a young teenage girl cuts herself. Imagine these tools that are even more powerful than that.

And so we have to be at a point where we’re able to take advantage of technology before it takes advantage of us. Now, there’s also exciting – these tools are going to allow us to, are ready right now to detect cancers years in advance, which means a longer life. Is helping with the climate issue because it’s allowing farmers to increase crop production with less water, with less land, with less energy. That’s awesome.

The ability to communicate with our loved ones, the ability to help people that are blind to navigate and have freedom of movement. These are all some really exciting capabilities. And the technological explosion we’re going to see in the next 47 years is going to make the last 47 years, since the since the invention of the personal computer, look like we were monkeys playing in the dirt with sticks. It’s exciting, but we’ve got to be ready for it.
And it and it goes back to we need national leaders that understand these technologies. We need political parties that are willing to have debates on these topics to figure out how to best use this. And how do we prepare for a society that has these kinds of powerful tools.

MICHAEL MORELL: Will, we have about a minute and a half left, and I want to come back to where we started the conversation. I had a chat about a year ago with a former senior member of the Republican Party, a moderate like you. And, you know, he’s not in politics anymore.

And I asked him, when are we going to see you back? And he said, ‘Michael, this is not my politics,’ right? ‘I couldn’t get elected today.’

And then he said something that kind of blew me away. He said, ‘Look, I don’t know if the phase we’re going through here is going to be 3 to 5 years or it’s going to be 25 to 30 years.’ Just react to that for me.

WILL HURD: Sure. Look, I think it gets a little worse before it gets better, but I do think our best days are ahead of us. And here’s why. And I’ve learned this in the district that I represented, which was a true swing district, and I’ve seen it as I’ve crisscrossed the country. Way more unites us than divides us as a country. And when we talk about those issues that unite us, the ability to put food on our table, a roof over our head, and make sure the people we love are healthy, happy and safe – when we talk about those issues, that’s when we inspire people.

And so I think this is the actual opportunity because 80% of the country is ready for something different. We don’t have to continue on this path that we’re on. We can – you know, we learned this in the CIA – get off the X, or something’s going down. That’s the last place you want to be where it’s going down.

And so I actually believe that silent majority, that middle of the country who wants things to work, they’re going to start flexing their muscle and say, ‘Hey, we don’t like the way things are going.’

MICHAEL MORELL: The book is, “American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done.” The author is Will Hurd. Will, thank you so much for joining us.

WILL HURD: Thanks for having me on. 



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