Biden's national security team will 'need strong alliances': Adm. William McRaven

Adm. William McRaven is interviewed on "This Week."
7:52 | 11/29/20

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Transcript for Biden's national security team will 'need strong alliances': Adm. William McRaven
Now let's take a closer look at the national security challenges awaiting the Biden administration with admiral bill MC the retired Navy S.E.A.L. Who headed U.S. Special operations command and planned the raid that killed Osama bin laden. We've all seen the famous photo from that day in the situation room. President Obama, vice president Biden, Hillary Clinton, Tony blinken all watching in real time as Navy S.E.A.L.S descended on bin laden's Mcraven served in the military under six presidents. He's been outspoken against president trump's leadership. Last month writing despite being a pro-life, pro-second amendment, small government, strong defense, he was voting for Joe Biden. He since briefed the President-Elect on national security issues. Admiral Mcraven joins me now. Great to see you, admiral. I want to get to those cabinet nominees. I want to start with the news out of Iran. Iran's top nuclear scientist was assassinated Friday. Many are pointing the finger at Israel. Iran is vowing revenge. Giving that president trump seems to be itching at an excuse to strike Iran, do you think Iran will let this pass? We've been dealing with the Iranians for 40 plus years in terms of the tension. The biggest issue going forward T Iran either suspects or knows that Israel was responsible for this attack. Of course, by association they'll assume we collaborated with it or at a minimum were witting of this Israeli's actions. Now the biggest issue is who is going to misstep. The Iranians are going to be in a position they have to retaliate. I don't see anyway around it. They'll have to save face. The issue becomes what does that retaliation look like? Does that then begin to escalate the problems in the region? That's not going to be good for anybody. The Iranians don't want to go to war with us. We don't want to go to war with Iran. Everybody has to lower the temperature and try not to get this into an escalation mode. President-Elect Biden says he wants to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. President trump pulled out of that of course. How does that complicate that effort? Can he get into the deal without changes? I don't think he can get into the deal without some changes. There's been a lot of controversy and a lot of folks who don't like the jcpoa. I understand that. The jcpoa was probabl going to give us 10 to 12 to 15 years before the Iranians could have enriched enough uranium to build a bomb. By attacking their nuclear scientist, by escalating this effort, the Iranians are going to be more compelled to get a nuclear bomb quicker. From the Iranian's standpoint after president trump pulled out of the jcpoa, I think they'll be reluctant to get into any agreements with the united States at this point. A president Biden will have a difficult task at hand. You wrote in 2018 that president trump had already humiliated us on the world stage. Donald Trump has 52 days left as president. What are you most concerned he might do when it comes to national security? What's your nightmare scenario? I don't know that there's a nightmare scenario. I'm concerned about a number of things. He's taken out all leadership in the department of defense, from the secretary, the top four members of the department of defense have been fired. He's put in a new team. The new team, maybe they're good folks, but they're inexperienced. They're trying to push forward president trump's agenda, particularly when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan and drawing down the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. What I said before is we can have reasonable policy discussions on how many people we ought to have in Iraq and Afghanistan. We don't want to rush to failure and pull everybody out of Afghanistan and risk putting the troops in greater harm's way. We've got to be thoughtful, methodical about how we draw down the number of troops in Afghanistan. What it appears is that this new administration in the department of defense is really rushing to get a lot of trump's agenda resolved before a president Biden comes in. We've seen president trump refuse to concede and falsely claiming every day he won the election, talking about conspiracies. What impact do you think that has internationally? What do you think the rest of the world thinks? The rest of the world is just waiting for a Biden administration to come in. The concerns that the international community has had is that president trump is not a coalition builder. He doesn't believe in alliances. If we're going to move forward, if this new national security team is going to move forward, they'll need strong alliances. They'll need a strong nato. They'll need strong relationships with the African union. President trump has not been inclined to do that. Then you look at all of the treaties and agreementwe pulled out of. The world health organization, the transpacific partnership, the Paris climate accord, on the opkies and a host of others. If we don't abide by our own treaties, then who in the international community is going to want to partner with us in the future? President trump has been playing a short game I would offer. I hope president Biden will strengthen these coalitions, get back into some of these organizations, as imperfect as they might be, and begin to play the long game. Admiral, back to the cabinet nominees. You saw the national security nominees. You know most of them. It really does seem like back to the future. What difference do you think they'll make now that they're with Biden instead of Obama? You touched on a few things there. I've heard this refrain a lot since the nominees were announced. I don't agree with that. The fact the matter is these are different times. The challenges out there may be the same in terms of a rising China, an aggressive Russia, the potential for North Korea to be nuclear tip ocbms, we've a pandemic out there, we've got climate change. This new group of national security professionals coming in are incredibly experienced and talented. They know each other. They'll approach these issues differently than certainly the trump administration did and to some degree differently than the Obama administration did. They'll be coalition builders. They'll strengthen our alliances and rebuild them. I love that admiral Haines came out quickly as the nominee for the director of national intelligence. She made it very clear she's going to tell a president Biden not what he wants to hear, but what he needs to hear. We know that each one of these nominees has come in and said we'll not politicize our organizations, our agencies. That's incredibly important for a president Biden and the nation. It will be an interesting time. We want to thank you admiral Mcraven for joining us today. My pleasure.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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