Major General Paul E. Vallely (Founder, Stand Up America US)

20.05.2011 - Interview conducted by Katie Dickmeyer

Q1. Do you think that some conflicts are rooted in religious tensions, and if so, do you think that cultural diplomacy can help overcome these? Do you think that religion is even a part of culture, or is it distinct?

Well there’s a lot of religious conflict right now. There’s not only tension within the United States. We have religious rights under the first amendment and now there are questions of whether we can fly the flag and say the prayer. So you have conflicts in the United States but then you also have the conflicts between Islam, Christianity and Judaism.  So you have an international situation where there’s a tremendous conflict.  In my own personal opinion radical Islam is not a religion; it’s an ideology.  However if you know Muslims then you can say it is a religion. So we have to understand the dynamics going on in the tremendous conflicts today.

Q2. As a former military commander and a defender of national sovereignty, what is your view on humanitarian intervention?

Well again, in my talk I mentioned that if we intervene militarily we have to consider whether or not it is a threat to the United States because we’re using not only our financial resources but also the human resources of the country. There’s always a cost there and people don’t consider that a decisive issue. My feeling regarding humanitarian crises is we need to go after what is initiating humanitarian situations. That is why we had to go after Hitler in WWII. We had to go after the Nazi’s not only because they were invading countries but because they were persecuting the Jews. So the question is what’s the source of that problem? You can’t just claim you are going to go into a country for humanitarian reasons. This was the situation with Rwanda.  Very little was done about Rwanda.  Hundreds of thousands of people were killed. We needed to go in and take care of the military and militias that were killing those people. That’s where a decision has to be made.

Q3. Are you opposed to globalization as a process or just the loss of sovereignty as a product of this? Do you think individual states would be more secure if they retained more sovereignty?

Yes. I think every nation now needs to consider their sovereignty, values and cultures. They need to be proud of these things. We should not feel we are forced into this globalization environment. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in international relations with other countries or do things in common together. France has something in common with Germany. The US has something in common with France, Germany, England and other countries. I’m a big believer in sovereignty, in maintaining a nation’s rights and the rights to protect each other. I’m not a big fan of having to go to the United Nations and ask for permission for the United States. So I think we’ve gone too far in that regard. If I want to protect you, I’m going to protect you whether it is the local community, the state or the government. So I think we should be responsible for protection.  We have to firstly make people secure. If I know there’s a threat against you I want to have the option of pre-empting that threat.

Thank you for your time.