By Samantha Holm | Arts & Culture Editor
“We need someone great.”
According to President Scott McQuilkin, this sentiment guided Whitworth University’s search for this year’s President’s Leadership Forum (PLF) Speaker. When the university got a look at Admiral James Stavridis’ credentials, the decision was an immediate no-brainer.
Admiral Stavridis’ experience leading the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as 16th Supreme Allied Commander distinguished him as a perfect choice to talk about international affairs. He is also a retired four-star U.S. naval officer, former Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and former Commander of U.S. Southern Command from 2006-2009. Remarkably, Stavridis has served the United States in a professional capacity for nearly 40 years.
On Monday, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m., Whitworth University hosted Stavridis for an hour-long panel in the Hixson Union Building Multipurpose Room (HUB MPR). McQuilkin emceed, fielding questions from students and faculty, as well as asking his own.
The panel, “Ukraine and China: Geopolitics and the Way Forward,” drew upon Stavridis’ years of experience with military and diplomacy to provide insight on current world issues and how the American people and government should respond to them.
A focal point of Stavridis’ lecture was the Russia and Ukraine war. He posited that Putin might counter Ukrainian attacks with a chemical weapon after suffering devastating war losses. He shared that some 80,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured within six months of battle, which, hopefully, signifies a swift end to this war.
“In six months, the walls have closed around Putin,” he said.
Stavridis also talked at length about the complex relationship between China and Russia, the United States’ attempts to partner with Taiwan and the threat global warming poses to us all.
This lecture was a foretaste of what was to come from Stavridis’ lecture at the President’s Leadership Forum, which took place on Tues., Sept. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center.
For more information about the PLF, click here.