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Podcast: The Philosophy of War

Podcast featuring Dr. Bjorn Mercer, Program Director, Communication, Philosophy, Religion, World Languages and the Arts and
and Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr., Program Director, Transportation and Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management

Why do nations still wage war against each other? Is it important or beneficial for politicians to have military experience? In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bjorn Mercer talks to Dr. Larry Parker, who spent 24 years in the Marine Corps, about the national security strategy to protect the homeland. Also learn what issues lead to war and armed conflict, why it’s so important to understand other cultures, and the ethical side of war and conflict.

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Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Hello, my name is Dr. Bjorn Mercer. And today we’re talking to Dr. Larry Parker, Program Director in the School of Business. And our conversation today is about war, conflict and the military. Welcome, Larry.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Thank you. Happy to be here.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Yeah, definitely, really timely, interesting. I should say always timely conversation. And I’ll just jump into the first question. And so, in the contemporary world, nations do not have to fight for pure survival anymore. So, essentially they can make treaties if they like, resources, food production, et cetera. And so, although rare, why do nations still fight each other? And when I say that like a formal declaration of war against each other rarely happens anymore. Thankfully.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: You know, this is something that is really been an age-old issue throughout history, the main eight issues or causes still remain. There’s the economic, territorial, religion, nationalism, revenge, civil war, revolutionary or defensive. And so those main issues still exist.

So even though we have trade, there’s still a way for one of those things to be triggered in some way. And it’s, it’s really about perspective. You have to get into the mindset of that other nation.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: And I completely agree. Just when you talked about revenge, it made me think of World War I, when the French had lost the Alsace region during the 1870 Franco-Prussian war. And so throughout the subsequent decades, the French felt like that was a tragedy and they had to take back Alsace Lorraine. And, of course, nobody were able to predict that the World War I would be so horrific.

And I always love talking about World War I because it’s one of those wars that essentially, truly didn’t have to occur. And especially for the sheer tragedy, as far as loss of human life. And that goes directly to the next question is: Should the US, the United States of America, AKA America, should we be the world police? So since 1945, the US has been involved in around 18 wars or conflict. And, of course, that number can vary depending on what you define as a conflict. And so, should we be the world police?

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Well, and that’s a very interesting question because when we think of police you think of someone who’s enforcing a set of rules or policies that, especially if you are the police or you had a part in  creating this order that you want to maintain. And what I see the US has always recognized, and it’s, it’s interesting, you brought up World War I.

As we had conflicts, or we entered conflicts, we knew we wanted to keep it away from our shores. And when we talk about just the political positioning that we had to keep things off our shores forward project and to shape things before they came to our shores.

And so, those are the things that come to mind when we think of why we’re in certain nations, why we’re in certain parts of the world—we’re trying to influence those things before they come to us.

And then we get into what we now call the National Security Strategy, which is years from when we were first talking about projecting power in World War I and World War II. But now, we’re talking about the National Security Strategy, and this is something I think we had a brief conversation about this, and we talked about the four pillars of the National Security Strategy. And, you know, presidents get an opportunity to shape the National Security Strategy once they step in.

And President Trump did so in 2017 and the four pillars of his National Security Strategy were: protect the homeland, promote American prosperity, preserve peace through strength, and advance American influence. So, at that point, I’ll leave it there and, you know, to open it for discussion that when we think of those things, those need us to facilitate some actions and to serve as a police in order to ensure those things are happening to ensure our national security.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: When you talked about the four pillars, they’re excellent. I mean, it’s hard to imagine anybody disagreeing with that, but everybody disagrees with everything, but ensuring, you know, the safety of the homeland number one. And just like you said, the US is I guess more unique amongst world countries in the sense that we have a very friendly country to the north.

You know, the last time we fought Canada was the French Canadian war maybe, the French Canadian war, sorry. Uh, like the 17 somethings. Such a long time ago, it’s inconsequential. And then of course, the last time we fought Mexico was the Mexican American War of like 1840s, I believe.

And then since then we’ve had friendly neighbors. Now, most countries in the world can, do not have that opportunity or that, that blessing in which they have potential hostile people around them in a way.

And when I say hostile that philosophically it’s very complex in the sense that they’ve had neighbors, that they’ve had conflicts with. Historic conflicts, present conflicts, so many things. And so, ensuring the safety of the homeland is number one for every country. It’s not unique to US.

And so I believe, and please correct me if I’m wrong, Trump, one of his successes is the fact that he didn’t get us involved in a fresh conflict during his four years, which many presidents, most presidents, can’t say they’ve done that at least in the last few decades, is that correct or? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Well, you know, and that’s interesting, you bring that to mind, because you’re correct. As I look at it, everything that was done under this administration was managing something that was already in existence. And if I could just touch back on something that you just mentioned.

And when we talk about protect a homeland, where we get into trouble and where a lot of the political conversation comes is trying to define that: What does that mean? “Protect the homeland.”

And the whole reason that we often end in some kind of conflict or have such partisan discussion is because, “protect the homeland,” can be seen in so many different ways and it doesn’t always involve armed conflict. And so, you know, again, getting back to the whole genesis of this conversation: How far do we go before we start to have war?

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: War as you had said, is, is the last thing you want, of course. One of the universalities of war is that once it starts, it is a completely different beast of what anybody thinks what will happen. There’s always great strategies on both sides or multiple sides. The war is not always one right versus left, and I’m not talking politics, but like this side versus this side. War quickly spirals out of control.

And so no matter how wonderfully you’ve planned things, things always go wrong. And it makes me think of like, obviously for the war on terrorism and when we fought Al Qaeda, which was in Afghanistan, of course, if you look at the history of Afghanistan, it’s truly tragic.

Going back to the Soviet invasion in the early 1980s, in which the US supported the Afghan rebels to end the dissolution of the USSR occurred in the late 80s, in which then Afghanistan basically became a failed state, which allowed Al Qaeda and then now the Taliban to take over.

And then years later that then went into the attack on our actual homeland, the first attack, you know, with 9/11 that occurred in, I mean, since I think, you know, random German and Japanese subs, might’ve shelled the US in World War II, that occurred. And just all of these unexpected things that occurred historically that created present conflicts, which are just absolutely, it’s impossible to have that foresight.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Yeah. I really think about this one because it’s personal. And I say personal just from their perspective of, I’m a son of an army soldier, and I grew up paying attention to these types of things. And I myself watched, read about Afghanistan and just really learned throughout high school and then through college.

I just retired after serving 24 years in the Marine Corps. And that one was actually a war that I participated in and I served, and I had a tour in Afghanistan. And it’s interesting as you say, the history to know down that I’m standing on that ground for something that it started so many years ago.

And as senior military officers, we often study war. We study history to understand your adversary. And in order to truly understand them, you, you try to understand, you know, why are we at conflict? Why are we having these issues?

And it’s not easy to define. You know, as we said, some of these things are paradigms, are old issues that either just get worse with time or just there are so historic, some of the individuals that are involved in it don’t know why they’re truly fighting.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: No, it’s true. And, you know especially Afghanistan, there’s such a tribal element that I think as Americans we’ve, of course we’ve lost tribal structure in this country a long, long, long, long time ago. Although, you know, there, of course is talking about tribal politics today, that’s nothing like an actual tribal structure as found in Afghanistan or Pakistan, where your loyalty goes to your people, your tribe, whatever that is. And so, it’d be extraordinarily difficult to navigate a country like Afghanistan, and to build coalitions in which there is a separate political process going on 0n the ground.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Yes. And, you know, if you think about it, that’s why often said in the military that we don’t build nations because there’s such a difference in culture to try to, and we could probably spend a totally different podcast on failed attempts to supplant our culture on someone in the East, just because it’s so different.

And unless you can truly get into the mindset of the people in that particular region, you’re bound for some form of failure. And if we could circle back just to one of your original questions was about, you know, politicians, politicians and their approach.

And, you know, being a person in the military, we actually pride ourselves in being able to study how to get closer and understand those individuals that are on the ground that you’re dealing with and understand their culture.

And so, we actually study the diamond principle, the diplomatic information, military, and economic approach to things, so you’re not always utilizing your weapon. I can’t say everyone from a political standpoint takes that approach. And so, you have this where the individuals that are the, as Clausewitz would say, “war as being a tool of foreign policy, one of the last tools,” you can’t say everyone in the chain of command follows that same philosophy.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: No, and that’s great. And especially mentioning Clausewitz, which, you know, was writing about the aftereffects of the Napoleonic Wars. And if you want to look at a series of conflicts that just ripped Europe up, and we’re not even getting into the 20th century with World War I and World War II, we’re talking about the Napoleonic Wars. And I think people realize that the Napoleonic Wars started with, you know, the French revolution in which there was those wars. And then there was the Napoleonic Wars. And then by 1815, everybody was done.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: You know, at that point that they, they had their fill of, you know, that kind of conflict.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Exactly. And that, and this perfectly segues into our next question. Politicians do not always start wars, but they often escalate them. So should all politicians have military service before they can serve. And I’m putting big quotes, “serve” the American public.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: I really think about this. And, after serving my adult life in the military, I’d be a big champion and say, “Yeah, everyone should serve.” But you know, really thinking about it further, you don’t have to serve in it to be a proponent for it, or an advocate for the military, or an advocate for the appropriate use of the military.

And I had to think about it, you know, you and I are PhDs. But yet we can be an advocate for an MD. You know, I’m an advocate for health, but I don’t perform any surgery or write any prescriptions.

And, so I really wanted to go outside the box and think about that, but those individuals, and this is not to make it too academic, but you know, you and I, when we talk about emotional intelligence and all the other things of just being intelligent diversity and in the difference in individuals, if the politician is willing to step outside of themselves and look at all the dynamics of the situation, there shouldn’t be a problem.

One of the current issues that are being discussed is like the new Secretary of Defense, or at least the person being nominated for the Secretary of Defense. And the real issue is not his qualifications because the man is a four-star general and served.

But here’s the difference, and it’s just interesting to see, it’s a matter of three to four months difference and when he would not need a waiver to be appointed, and he would be classified as a civilian that would be sitting over the Department of Defense. And so, it’s just interesting that we’re down to the point of splitting hairs of three to four months of a person who served almost 40 years.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Before this podcast, I was looking at the stats of the current Congress. So the current Congress as of 2020, not the new one that’s going to come in. And I think it said about 20% of Congress people were in the military, which is a pretty small minority. And that’s why I asked: Should politicians have experience with the military?

And it doesn’t mean that they had to serve like you did, you know, for many, many years of wonderful service. But individuals need to have a really good philosophic and practical approach to conflict, the psychology of conflict and the philosophy of conflict before they become politicians and they start espousing potential, harmful rhetoric that could influence people to take up arms.

And the reason I say that is because in the US we haven’t had an internal conflict since the civil war. And the civil war tore this country up. I know people understand how horrible it was, but then even looking and reading some of the news where people casually talk about, you know, an upcoming civil war, civil conflict, and it’s like, “But who’s going to fight each other?” I really don’t think anybody wants to fight each other over taxation policies.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: No. And I agree with you, you know, if we think about the individuals who fought the war and some of those they were actually roommates—they knew each other. The generals were the ones who had employed the strategy knowing that they were being required to do something by the politicians of that time.

You hear the old adage brothers against brothers and family, you had to draw lines. And so, you know, without getting into the overall reasons and purpose and all that, of why that war happened, it is one of those things when we look at today, we can have a major disagreement. I can’t see it being to that degree.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Exactly. America in the 1850s, leading up to the Civil War of course was different, besides the fact that black people in the South were slaves. So you had millions of people who are in chattel slavery. And so that created a huge political complication, for lack of a better word, where the South did not want to free its slaves, because that was, that was the bedrock of its, of its economy. The North had slavery, but was very limited quantities, but it’s not like the North was like this angel on the hill.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Exactly. And which really takes us back to one of those, those major causes. And you can slice several of those and one being economic. As much as individuals don’t want to maybe discuss that, there is a reality, and, you know, your livelihood being questioned will cause you know, some of these actions to come into play, which again, taking us back to today, it’s a major disagreement on who should be in power, but I can’t see any of those areas being touched.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Exactly. Even what I would describe as the more, disagreeable rhetoric that has been going around is I would describe as very focused and very targeted towards specific populations that want to hear that. So example, if you are, have already been against, or if you already think that the government conspires against people, you are going to listen to politicians that then say that.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: And because of social media, and the many, many wonderful, but also the many terrible things that social media can do is that it can focus you into essentially a silo in which that’s all you hear. And there’s nothing about that, that’s a positive. You know, and going back to talking about, and I don’t always do this, but I’m giving Trump some praises here for not getting us into conflicts. But you know, one of the conflicts that we got into within the last decade was Libya.

And thinking back to the Arab Spring, which was largely generated by social media, amazing. But the conflicts that arose from the Arab Spring had been pretty horrific, the dissolution of Libya as a country and it’s still a mess. And the ongoing Syrian civil war. In which Syria was a highly educated country that has just been ripped apart.

And you know, the US got into the Libya conflict, but then has not been able to even with co-operations from other countries to help resolve it. Just because like what you talked about in Afghanistan, we weren’t on the ground, we didn’t really understand the culture nor, and this is hard for, I think a lot of, I’m going to put again, big quotes “Westerners” to hear. They don’t want our help.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: And that’s hard for many individuals in the West who understand, understand is one thing. But then also accept that’s the next big piece. Because, if you think about it, I mentioned those causes, but then what if out of those eight causes, not everyone has one of those issues. You know, we being involved, little bit more economic and some humanitarian.

We often talk about ethics, but you stand by and watch something bad happen, but you also know there’s an economic, you know, going back to your National Security Strategy, one of your pillars is also being affected.

When the individuals on the ground find it to be either a religion or just a historical issue with the other faction or the other tribe, which has none of those things, you know, in some cases they could care less about, you know, those things. This has been a lifelong adversary, and they’re going to stay a lifelong adversary unless something amazing happens, but, you know, that’s often the case and we can’t understand it.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Yeah. And that’s why the conflict with something like Al Qaeda or ISIS is largely, it’s very difficult to rectify those conflicts because it’s based in what I would describe as more, as more of religious fundamentalism and every religion has a fundamental component to it. And, especially when it comes to ISIS, you know, it’s an authoritarian fundamentalist, Islamic sect.

And so it’s very, very difficult to quote, negotiate with people like that if they feel that God is on their side. And again, going to the Syrian civil war. So here in the West, we view the political Syrian government as quote, the enemy, and the Russian support, you know, the Syrian government. And so we’ve been supporting the rebels, but within Syria, the current government is the minority, which has held power over the majority.

So much like Iraq, for decades, the minority held power over the majority, so there’s this long you know, overdue hatred and anger that’s festering in these countries. That, again, we don’t have that. Largely when people come and immigrate to the US, they kind of want to get away from that. I’m simplifying it, of course, but, you know, that happens.

And so, with something like Syria, where people have been like, “Well, we should just get in there and help them.” No, it’s really complicated besides the fact that Turkey who is one of our allies is right on the border.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: And when you have situations like that, and you really touched on that, that emotions often don’t involve a great degree of logic or reason at a certain point that they’re, they’re just opposed at certain points. We can talk about passion for a particular set of criteria or place in those regions. And from the West, it will make perfect sense for us to do X, but you try to explain that either of the sides and they feel that the other side is not either being held to the same standard, or somehow have not atoned for some wrong in the past. Their culture may view those wrongs totally different than what we’ve had here in the West for so long. You know, we, okay, forgive. Can we go to some kind of mitigating position? And that may not be a reality in many of the societies.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: When you add religion as a component of a conflict, it complicates everything. Greatly complicates.

But from a political perspective, it also allows the political leaders to have a lot more power over their followers, which is the reality. It’s not to say that any aspect of religion in war is good or bad. It’s more of, if you use rhetoric that play upon religious fervidness, your followers, your soldiers can have a different reason for fighting and have a higher reason for fighting.

You know, which, I mean, if you want to go back, it makes the crusades from the Western perspective crusades pretty, again, horrible, because essentially Europeans are like, “Well, let’s take the conflict away from our own countries.”

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: That truly gives individuals the why they’re doing something to fill in the gaps when you, as a leader, can’t justify certain actions beyond a certain point, if it’s also tied to some value system that they can fill in those gaps and when things get hard or, you know, again, you know, touching back on these things that really overarching why we go to war, what’s the ethical basis for getting into an armed conflict and possibly taking someone’s life.

There’s has to be some kind of just feeling to be able to walk out of that. And, you know, we can get into the rules of engagement and Geneva Convention, which, you know, as you mentioned before, which was very interesting, because I was wondering if you were possibly going to go there where war can be so messy and get out of control, but yet we try to make sense out of it and put these rules over at the rules of engagement and the Geneva Convention where you can have war, but it needs to be this way. And because everyone recognizes it can go too far to where it’s total war, which going back to the philosopher Clausewitz, no one wants that because that means everything’s free game.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Right? And I think perfectly this leads us into our last question: When war or conflict does occur, how important are ethics and morality for individuals, soldiers, and politicians? And before you answer, I’m going to throw in the example of the war on the Eastern front, during World War II, where I think total war occurred, both sides viewed each other as the other, the Germans Nazis, if you want to say, and the Soviets where it was such a conflict for as both of them, I think viewed it as utter survival that no form of brutality was too much.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Well, that’s a perfect example and, and exactly where I want to go with my answer. That’s the very worst of humanity when you go to that point. And so ethics, ethical approaches to strategy to just the overall view and planning of an operation is absolutely critical. Both from the political standpoint and the military individuals on the ground, because what we have to consider there’s, we’re not considering any kind of genocide or, or total annihilation of some side. The other side, there is going to be a tomorrow. There is going to be a day after and how are we going to live with ourselves or live with others afterwards?

So there’s a conflict, there is for any of those reasons that we pointed out, you know, religious, economic, any of those, once we get past that, how do we live with ourselves at that point to be able to come together and be in peace? Because if you go down that road, then you see those endless or what we have term endless conflicts, because one side has done something so egregious that it’s just hard for the people to accept.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Again, it makes me think of the World War II, Eastern Front. And the brutality that both sides did to each other. And of course talking about the Nazis and the Holocaust and, you know, the very formal extermination of the Jews and the Poles. You know, one of the things that is odd about remembering World War II. Of course, we always remember the Holocaust from the Jewish perspective, but about four, 4.5 million Poles died during that time in which both the Germans and the Russians invaded Poland. You know, and just really tough, tough country to be in.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Just to interject the point that, what does that say for the mentality? You know, today we kind of talk about PTSD and post-traumatic stress disorder. And before that was even a term to pursue, what does that say for the effect on the people that have to carry out those type things? That they see that in for a generation, because those are the conflicts that went on for a while.

You know, we, we have conflicts now that, you know, a year, a couple of years and, and we have, you know, obviously some that went on longer, but they wouldn’t have such that total war on the Eastern front. What does that do to their humanity at that point? And then they have to come back afterwards.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: No, it’s true. And it makes me think of, and I love talking about sounds terrible to say, but Nazis. Because today we love having Nazis and movies because they’re the go-to evil. It’s evil, you can kill a Nazi, it’s fine, they’re evil.

But when you look at German history and you read and you watch the documentaries, those are average people brought up in a corrupt system that were essentially brainwashed. We are, they said, the best and we have to go because we’re in threat, everything was a threat.

And that’s where the rhetoric of danger and the rhetoric of the other was just fermented so much in Germany, that it allowed an average person to essentially do terrible things. And that’s why there needs to be a conversation about how “evil” doesn’t exist, but people can do horrible things because somehow they’ve been convinced that it’s for their survival.

And at the same time on the Soviet side because of the great purges that occurred in the thirties and with the NKVD, they were used to essentially a lockdown state and government mass murder. So by the time you get to World War II, and of course, Stalin being a pretty bad military leader, the millions of people died for no reason because of just bad, bad leadership.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: But they became numb to it. And this, this becomes our point, when you talk about attachment to a higher calling, something that allows them to mentally block and have some kind of cognitive dissonance from what they’re actually doing, and be able to live with themselves afterwards. So like we said, there’s a tomorrow. The individual that’s carrying that out, may tell themselves, “I’m doing this for my family. I’m protecting those because as we said, us against them. And I’m doing this and I will be able to sleep tonight because I’m doing the dirty work that the others can’t.”

And so that, that really brings us to, if there has to be armed conflict, if there has to be war and that’s the last resort for whatever reason we entered into it, there has to be some kind of ethical approach to manage the after.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: I completely agree. And I would say very few conflicts need to occur. Every conflict can be avoided with a conversation, but many conflicts can’t be avoided because people refuse to have a conversation.

And I think there was a treaty that was passed, I believe in 1929, which outlawed all war. It’s one of those great oddities of history in which, you know, most countries in the world signed it. And they said, yeah, no war, of course, then World War II happened just few years later.

But it’s one of those things that I think people understand human nature is for conflict. And the one thing that I would really focus on with this wonderful conversation. So thank you. Thank you so much for talking about war conflict in the military, are ethics. And, you know, related to what we were talking about with our last question is, you know, my dad was a career military man, and he always talked about ethics.

He always talked about the reasons, the why, and for the average soldier, the individual soldier, they really talk about why and what this potential sacrifice is for. And my questioning when it comes to the military, typically, isn’t about the military, but it’s the politicians. What are their intentions? And what is their understanding? Because the rhetoric of conflict and the possible rhetoric of like winning is very alluring to people.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: As I study and look at politics, it concerns me that someone, you know, and, and of course, they turn to academia to do the studies or someone through the studies of the wartime politician. The ratings are typically higher. If we want to get into a ratings debate or discussion. The individual that’s able to rally individuals during a time of conflict and appear strong is very compelling for someone who’s looking for reelection, or they’re having something about them being questioned.

They’re looking for that group dynamic where people rally behind the person who’s protecting them or, or that’s fighting for their cause. Unfortunately, then that leads to what we’ve discussed here. Someone entering into something or even posturing when they don’t have to, because you’re also looking at term limits and things of that nature that, I mean, all these things overlap that cause issues where, hey, there wasn’t a problem before, but yet you want to appear strong and disrupt something.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Exactly. And you know, one of the great strengths of democracy is terms. We hold it to be self-evident today that politicians have limited term limits, but in the past with previous peoples the idea of a King or even a Queen was self-evident to them. Of course, there’s the person who’s going to be this, this shining beacon on the hill, who’s going to guide us for their entire lifetime. And today that just seems utterly absurd.

And so, Larry, any final thoughts on a very complicated, and we could literally talk about for hours a topic about war or conflict in the military.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: I really appreciate the approach to this because it, it shows the complicated situation, the responsibility of the politicians to consider their impact, you know, because of some of our guidance that we have Goldwater–Nichols, and some of the others that there’s a civilian that’s going to lead the military. That’s already been decided. So you’re going to have that combination.

There’s not a military that just operates on its own or a military person. There’s a civilian and a military component. And so, I really like where our discussion went that, if it has to happen I liked that, you know, we really brought back home the fact that there needs to be an ethical approach to this because there’s going to be a tomorrow.

There’s going to be something afterwards. And we want to be in a better position if we had to do this, you know, those are just my points. And I really appreciate the opportunity since taking off the uniform, I haven’t had the opportunity to get to discuss it much, but I really appreciate it. Thanks.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: No, of course. And you know, I always wish that in the public discourse, people would talk about war in a more frank and realistic way. And I think there is always a conversation about the horrors of war. Of course, World War II is always brought up rightfully so.

But at the same time, the small conflicts need to be addressed in which people have sacrificed their lives for a small conflict, and nobody should ever sacrifice their life unless it’s for something important.

And so that’s why the rhetoric of conflict and war needs to be toned down. And our political leaders need to have extremely good historical knowledge and good ethical knowledge. And of course that’s asking too much because political leaders can come from anywhere.

Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.: Exactly no background whatsoever, but yet wield an incredible amount of power.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Yeah, definitely. Thank you, Larry. And again, my name is Dr. Bjorn Mercer, and we were talking today with Dr. Larry Parker, Program Director in school of business about war conflict and the military.

About the Guest

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr., currently serves as the Program Director of Transportation and Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management with the School of Business at American Public University. He serves as an adjunct faculty for various universities around the world. Dr. Parker is a native of Temple, Texas, a certified Inspector General by the Association of Inspector Generals, and a proud member of professional organizations advancing knowledge and professionalism, such as the Association of Supply Chain Management and the National Naval Officers Association.

Dr. Parker is a published author, inspirational speaker, consummate entrepreneur and consultant who speaks worldwide on the value of education. He holds a Ph.D. in organization and management from Capella University, an MBA from Liberty University, and a B.A. in history from Wittenberg University. Dr. Parker has a long history of passion and interest in local communities and is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer is a Program Director at American Public University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Missouri State University, a master’s and doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. Dr. Mercer also writes children’s music in his spare time.

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