Author and former Navy SEAL Jack Carr knows a little something about Russia. With several published thriller novels that focus on geopolitical issues, he’s certainly done his research. So, he joins Glenn to war-game possible scenarios from the current situation in Ukraine. He explains why Putin’s original drive to invade Ukraine may have been to grow his military; plus, Carr explains the reason why Putin may be ‘a little more likely’ to use nukes: ‘[Russia is] an animal in a corner and it’s fight or flight…they’re in survival.’
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: All right. Jack Carr is with us. Hello, jack, how are you?
JACK: Great. Thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it.
GLENN: You bet. I can’t wait. How excited are you for terminal list to come out with, Pratt?
JACK: Well, I’m fired up. Because they could really take your material, and do anything they want with it, which is why they usually like to get rid of the authors right away, yelling, you’ve ruined my vision.
But having been involved from the get-go, and Amazon was so supportive. And I think we got what all that people talk about, being woke. All that out there. It will be very refreshing for people between New York and Los Angeles. I think we crushed it, and Chris certainly did, Glenn. Maybe Bill Sniper. James Race. Angelon Coop (all phonetic) was the director. I mean, everybody came together. And it is dark, it is gritty, it is violent, it is authentic. And they do not set the bar.
GLENN: What an endorsement. It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s violent. You’re going to love it.
All right. So, Jack, I wanted to have you on. Because something feels wrong with this Russia/Ukraine situation. And it seems like everybody is preparing — if I were a fiction writer, I would be looking at all of these things that are hang. And I would say, yeah. I’m just doing a little foreshadowing. They’re starting to build up for war. They’re letting people know. I’m letting the reader know.
It just seems like they’re going places, that I don’t think would be a good place to go. As a fiction writer, and somebody who lives in this world, and I — and I love talking to fiction writers, especially about geopolitical things.
Because you can’t write things that don’t make sense. Because nobody would believe it.
So you have to be based in reality. As a fiction writer. Where do you think we’re going?
JACK: Well, if I had written what’s actually happening in the world today. Whether it’s Russia. Ukraine. The girl from Afghanistan.
Whether it’s our own country right here. If I had written these things ten years ago. It wouldn’t be a political thriller. It would go into the dystopian category. Perhaps even the science fiction category.
GLENN: Ten years ago, I think if you would have written what’s happening today, ten years ago, you would have been laughed at. I mean, nobody would buy the book. And I think people would go, that’s ridiculous. It would never happen.
GLENN: Exactly. This could never happen in this country.
This is too unrealistic. That’s what the reviews on Amazon would say. But these things are happening. In fact, when we look at just Ukraine and Russia, I mean, it didn’t take — you didn’t have to be a genius. You didn’t have to be a geopolitical strategist. To look at it.
Apply some common sense, to NATO, Ukraine, and Russia, and predict what was going to happen. My second book, True Believer, I have a — I have a false flag type of an operation to get Russia to invade Ukraine, as part of the story line.
And I just studied the situation, and needed to figure out how to make that happen. And lo and behold, that has happened. But the research that I did, that really — you could see that coming, because of the decline of the ethnic Russian population since the end of the Cold War. And really, they could only field an army, up to about 20 — 2022, and then they were either going to have to invade Ukraine. But then that has the largest population of ethnic Russians, outside of Russia. So for our senior level leaders, not to come to that same conclusion, after looking at it, with a little bit of common sense, is — it shouldn’t be shocking. But it is.
Because we rely on those leaders to make those good, strategic decisions. And they’ve proven time and time again, they’re incapable of doing so.
GLENN: So wait a minute.
So you say, the reason they’re having a hard time is, they don’t — they think get more troops. And you’re saying, that that’s one of the reasons why you think they invaded Ukraine. So they could have ethnic Russians to fight.
JACK: That’s right. So just looking at those — at those numbers, and that’s — you really have two generations of ethnic Russians, being a population that can sustain a military, and in much smaller numbers, past 2022.
So in 2014, Peter Zeihan wrote a book, called The Accidental Superpower, which looks at geography, demographics, in world history, when it comes to the nation states and the world powers.
And that’s the conclusion he came to in that book. Which is one of the things I used in that second novel. But there are, of course, supporting factors. But that’s a big one.
And that also ties into the nuclear question.
Because if you have someone who believes that their population, their country is not going to be around, in two generations, and they can’t even field an army, past right about now. Well, it makes using maybe a taxable nuclear weapon, at least threaten to do so.
But maybe even using it, a little more likely. Because they’re an animal in a corner, and it’s fight or flight, and it’s survival. It’s not — they don’t look at it, as an option. As we do, do this. We don’t do this. Hey, if we don’t do this, we’re dead anyway.
So we have to put ourselves in the enemy’s shoes, and to anticipate what they’re going to do. And we continually do not do that in this country, for whatever reason.
GLENN: I have to tell you, that’s some of the best commentary I’ve heard on what’s happening in Ukraine, already. And we’ve been talking to you, in just a couple of minutes. I haven’t heard any of that. I’ve heard about the lack of military.
But I have no idea that we knew this from the gets go.
So when you have this situation. And you have Putin. I’m sure you’ve done enough research, just for your own novels. On Putin. And how things work over there.
A couple of questions. First, they think he’s sick. May have cancer. They’re saying, that maybe he’s going under the knife. And will be, you know, under. And they don’t know how long he will be incapacitated. If I’m Putin, I’m wondering if I’m going to be safe when they put me out. Or if they might accidentally turn that knob up a little bit.
GLENN: Oh, yes. This was something in the Cold War, that was at the forefront of senior level Russian official’s minds, when they had to go under the knife, when they had to be put under. And they had security in those rooms. Not just because of an assassination or something along those lines by doctors. And the CIA payroll. Or arrival in the political or military space. But because coming out of that anesthesia. So when they’re coming out of that, there’s a certain time period within where you’re not lucid. You know what that feels like. You’re coming out of that. And, well, maybe a doctor on the CIA payroll can ask you a few questions at that point in time. And filter that back to the CIA. So that was something in the Cold War, that was at the forefront when any of those guys would have to go under the knife for a medical procedure. So I am sure that Putin is thinking about that. And of course, he knows his history betters than we do.
History in Russia. It’s not infrequent, when we look at world history.
So I’m sure that he’s thinking about that. And surrounding himself with people he thinks are trustworthy, to ensure that he’s either not killed during that time frame, or is not asked questions during that time frame about his strategy vis-à-vis Ukraine, or the rest of the world, or his intent to use or not use nuclear weapons.
GLENN: Could you have any idea who would replace him. Let’s say he ties on the table.
Do you have any idea?
JACK: I do not. There’s always a military leader waiting in the wings, it seems. But who that is, I’m not sure.
And, you know, in these situations, or just when you’re looking at authoritarian dictatorships. Orthopedic — or countries. Like that. Senior level leaders oftentimes are not getting the best information.
Because it is not healthy to bring that bad news to — to a dictator. Because oftentimes, it’s off with your head. Or off to the gulag. It’s a strange position to be in. Obviously, with our war in Iraq.
Where he actually did have a capability. That he did not.
And Putin is probably in that same position.
GLENN: Do you — what do you make of their — the story — it came out, I think yesterday. Pictures of what they call the Flying Kremlin. It’s a plane, that they haven’t seen it in the air, I think since 2010 or 2011.
And it’s been flying around Russia. And it is the — the nuclear plane. Something needs to go on.
You know, air force one. That everything can be run from that plane, in case of a nuclear war.
Do you think that’s just telling that —
JACK: Yeah. That seems interesting. I didn’t see that story. But oftentimes, these things are done to send a message. And they might — just to say, hey, we have this capabilities. And to get to us take or not take a certain — a certain action. So for Putin to say, he’s moving nuclear weapons into a certain position. Well, they’re probably already there. Or this plane is flying around. If the Russian military. If their capabilities are what we’ve seen in Ukraine, thus far.
Then we overestimate it, as did a lot of those generals, probably because they didn’t want to get their heads lopped off by saying, they weren’t as capable as they’ve been projecting or advertising. But flying a plane like that is probably the same — the same thing as, hey, we’re moving nuclear weapons into a nuclear position. Just in case we need to use them. So that sends a message to the left, to discontinue support of Ukraine, or get us to take a certain action.
GLENN: So how serious do you think this nuke thing is?
I — you know, we’ve all grown up, you know, without this fear of nukes. I grew up in the time. You might have too.
Where, you know, we feared what Russia might do. And then it went away. And now, our — are we really that close to some sort of a nuclear explosion, on — on earth?
JACK: I mean, the first question is, and I did grow up during the time as well. We thought it was the end of the Cold War. That our main threat now is the proliferation of some of these weapons, going to rotation states. Or super empowered individuals. Or terrorist organizations, or that sort of a thing. But now we’re back with a state-on-state, nation-on-nation conflict.
GLENN: Do you think it’s serious?
JACK: Well, first the question would have to be, do they have the capabilities?
And the answer to that question is yes. They have about 6,000 both tactical and strategic nuclear weapons. Strategic mean they’re gigantic and fly towards us.
Tactical means, they use them on the battlefield, a lot smaller. But still huge, when comparing the two. Something like Hiroshima or Nagasaki, something like that.
But we have a lot less. Nuclear weapons, it doesn’t really matter. You know, 1,000 here, 1,000 there.
But when we add all of NATO’s nuclear weapons and Russia’s, it’s about the same. Give or take. It’s just shy of 6,000, when we add all of the nuclear weapons to Russia’s.
But in this case, it’s interesting. If they did do something like that, we have this China. That side. So it makes it a lot harder for Communist China to support Russia, if Russia uses even a tactical nuclear weapon on the battlefield.
So that’s an interesting kind of connection here. Because Communist China is right now, Russia’s greatest ally. Militarily, trade-wise. And they have — they have a lot of incentives to stay connected. And using a nuclear weapon would make it a lot more difficult.
GLENN: We’re talking to Jack Carr, the fiction writer, the author of In The Blood, which is out right now.
Also one of his other books, The Terminal List is coming out soon, on Netflix.
As a — as a series, with Chris Pratt. We’ll continue our conversation here, in 60 seconds.
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GLENN: So I just want to war game one more thing with you.
And that is China. You know, I was just reading something. I can’t remember where I read it this morning.
But some analysis that — that the American dollar is going to lose its reserve currency status. You know, in the — in the coming days, months, years. Whenever.
And Communist China is making a move, to basically have a — a multi— or bipolar-powered world.
If we — Japan looks like it’s falling apart, economically.
We’re not doing so great. Europe is not doing so great. There’s a war going on. If this thing spirals out of control, what’s to stop Communist China from taking Taiwan, and then just gobbling the world?
JACK: Right. So they’re obviously looking very closely at what was going to happen with Ukraine and Russia. That that didn’t happen as fast as most of our strategic level thinkers, leaders, talking heads, anticipated, which was about three, four days. Russia is going to roll through Ukraine. And a lot of that is due to Zelinsky. And I’m still curious as to why Russia did not decapitate that government ahead of time. Take out the leader first. And I think it’s because they thought, oh, this was just an actor, like Ronald Reagan, before — as he first started into politics.
And they just — they just counted how he could galvanize both his country, and the world, against Russia. So I think that was a strategic level mistake. And they should have anticipated that one.
And we thought the same thing. We offered him refuge. We said, we’ll take you out of the country. The way that was asked. And the way that was talked about. It was so casual. It seems as though, we thought, oh, for sure, the leader of the country, will pick up and go. And Russia probably thought the same went thing.
But that did not happen. And now we have the situation we have now. It’s actually a war of attrition. And we’ll see how that — how that ends up.
But Communist China and currency, that is a major play here. And a major component of this. That no one is talking about. So I’m glad you are. And Communist China can look at things obviously. They look in decades. They look in centuries. We look at things in a four-year election cycle. Maybe eight years for the real deep thinkers among us. But Communist China can take a breath. And they can see what happened in Ukraine. They can take a breath on Taiwan. And they can — and they can look at this long-term. And that is the advantages, that they have over us. They have their problems too. They have population problems. One-child policy and coming to fruition. They have lockdowns. Mandates.
A lot of issues to deal with as well, internally. But they can deal with those issues, and take a breath on the strategic front, because we’re doing a pretty good job of destroying ourselves from the inside right now. So A little strategic patience on their part really plays into their hands.
GLENN: Talking to Jack Carr.
The author of In the Blood. And The Terminal List, which is coming out on Netflix soon.
I own the Paramount Studios here in Dallas. It was an old movie lot, back in the ’80s. And I have some of — I have an old ship, that was used in a mini-series back in the ’80s. And it was Winds of War. You’re really now in the best time to be a writer. Because now these movies can be made in episodes. And they don’t bastardize the book usually.
JACK: Wow. That’s amazing that you have. And I’ve been there in Chad Prather’s show. And I’ve been there. It was amazing.
GLENN: Let me know next time you’re here. I’ll take you on a tour. And show you the school stuff that you have.
JACK: Thank you. You have a lot of amazing things there. And that’s an incredible book. And if more people read that and willing to remember that, that was their gateway into non-fiction. Studying history. Hopefully a finals lesson going forward in wisdom, we would all be in a better place.
GLENN: Jack Carr, In the Blood is out right now. And coming soon, The Terminal List to Netflix. Please, Jack, let me know next time you’re in town. I would love to take you on a quick tour.
God bless you.
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