Retired General Burwell B. Bell told the Rotary Club on Thursday afternoon in a discussion regarding threats to the United States, "The Cold War is back. Those who say it's not have got their heads buried in the sand."
The former four star general said, "Russia is on the move toward Western Europe."
He said NATO was "timid" in this situation because much of Europe receives their oil from Russia. He suggested the United States start increasing its oil production and take Russia's place as the major supplier.
General Bell said producing more oil would also help the United States to become less reliant on the Middle East. He said, "We can become not only energy independent, but we can dominate the oil market and break the OPEC cartel."
He told the club there are three important areas that could be a reason for conflict in the future.
The first area, he said, is the protection of the homeland.
He said, "This is the post 9/11 environment. Our borders pose a major risk area for us in that environment. We've got to know who comes into this country. Our government has failed us in that context."
A second area, he said, is in protection of the "global commons," which are made of the airspace, the sea, outer space, and cyberspace.
General Bell said, "America will defend the global commons as it relates to our ability to have a free, open economy that trades on the world stage."
The third area is American treaty obligations.
He said, "We currently have seven treaty obligations with entities or nations." That group consists of NATO, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Thailand and Australia.
He said that while the United States does not have a written treaty contract with Israel, it does have a verbal contract as well as a "moral imperative."
He said, "Walking away from Israel and letting them be destroyed by forces from all around is not something I want to have on the conscience of the United States."
He closed, "Threats to our security are rising, but there's no need to panic. We know what to do. These are not that hard to address, in my view. Other than politically, they seem to be impossible. We have to stop screwing around...Let's control our own destiny and let's do it now."