Calling himself an eternal optimist despite the current state of world affairs, U.S. Army four-star General B.B. Bell spoke directly to University students about their role in security and the global economy.
“It is not necessarily true the United States will go the way of Rome,” Bell said. “How it turns out is our responsibility. You have a role in that.”
After the Cold War ended, Bell said “Utopia was supposed to break out all over the world.” But eighteen years later, Bell said radical fundamentalist groups and rogue states with access to technologies only previously used by superpowers have created a dangerous, competitive world.
Bell also discussed global warming and how it is affecting shipping routes worldwide. With limited access through narrow waterways, more and more ships will travel the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean to reach their destinations. Russia recently made headlines by claiming that a portion of Siberia runs beneath the Arctic Ocean, an area rich with untapped oil.
After spending 15 of his 38 years in the military overseas, Bell said that despite the fact that many people hate Americans, at the same time they want desperately to live the way Americans do. “Many young Americans understand the Constitution,” Bell said. “One question we have to ask ourselves is ‘are we willing to make sacrifices to be responsible citizens?”
Bell urged students not to give up and to do something that matters. He encouraged them to vote, and if they are inclined, to pick up a sign and make their voices heard. “We are the masters of our destiny. We control the future. The burden is on our shoulders for our children and our grandchildren,” Bell said.