J. William Middendorf, a fixture in the national security realm under three Republican presidents, warned on Wednesday of a possible war in the near future in which, through the elements of technology and germ warfare, “it won’t take 5 years or 25 years, but perhaps 20 minutes.”
Middendorf, himself a World War II veteran, added that combined with major food shortages, the next major war could kill “as much as 80 percent of the [world] population.”
At 96 and speaking without notes, Middendorf made these observations before a standing-room-only luncheon at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC.
An early backer of the presidential candidacies of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, Middendorf served as secretary of the navy under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Netherlands under President Reagan.
His latest book, “The Great Nightfall: How We Win The New Cold War,” analyzes the threats from growing hostile powers such as China and how the U.S. can grapple with them.
As Middendorf sees the future, the most deadly enemies of the U.S. are Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.
Their capability of deploying missiles, he warned, “is growing rapidly” and China now has “the largest navy in the world.” He underscored the fact that with an armed force of 10 million facing us, “we can’t move an expeditionary force into China.”
To counter the threats from China and the other countries, Middendorf called for the U.S. defense budget to be increased and emphasis placed on technology, missile defense, and submarines.
The present $730 billion defense budget, he said, “should be expanding but isn’t.”
The former diplomat was critical of, in his words, “negotiating with a wink or a smile and changing the minds [of our adversaries]…It’s not a winning strategy.”
He also voiced hopes that the U.S. does not face an adversary in jungles or the desert because “as we learned in Vietnam and Iraq, we don’t do jungles or deserts well.”
Middendorf believes the war of the future will be fought primarily with cyber technology and germ warfare, which will make them deadlier.
As for wars fought with robots, he cautioned that “there is talk we will one day have robots that make human decisions. I hope not because they could turn back on their controllers.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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