America Is Lost in a Dark Forest, But There’s a Path Out

Sadly, in these not-so-United States, we have found our way deep into a dark forest, and the question before us is how do we find the path out of this dangerous thicket into which we have wandered? Our dire internal divisions are quite extraordinary and worrisome. And here I’m talking to you wherever you are on the political spectrum from MSNBC to Fox News. If you get up in the morning watching Morning Joe and you wrap it up with Rachel Maddow at night; or you start on the white couch over at Fox and you finish up with Sean Hannity—wherever you are on that spectrum, you ought to be concerned about the plummeting nature of our discourse with each other.

That division is the dark forest into which we have wandered, and the real challenge is that the world is not going to wait for us while we figure out how to escape. The world does not see us standing coherently together and facing the challenges and turbulence that roil the globe. This weakens us dramatically.

Consider the challenges: an ongoing global pandemic, a broken withdrawal from Afghanistan, Vladimir Putin rattling the saber of nuclear weapons, failing cyber security, fierce competition with Beijing, Iran moving apace toward a nuclear weapon, Kim Jong-un taunting with ballistic missile launches, terrorism still smoldering in many places, a damaged environment, on and on. The dangers are real, and the world will not wait while we figure out how to face these challenges together as a nation.

We must find practical ways to think through these problems and challenges or face dire consequences both internationally and here at home.

If I’ve brought you this far, you’re probably asking, “Well what do you think, Admiral? What can we do to find a path out of this Dark Forest? What are the tools we need? What should we do?

Counterintuitively, we should start by taking stock of some good news, even as we appropriately wring our hands and worry about all these external challenges and above all about our internal divisions. It’s good from time to time to step back and…