Commentator, professor, author, businessman, baseball player — there are so many facets to Ronald (Ron) Bee’s life, where do you start? Many may recognize Bee from his stints as a guest commentator on local news stations, such as KUSI, ABC, NBC, Fox, and on various radio stations. He is frequently asked to comment on foreign policy, national security, and whenever President Trump visits the border wall. But how did he get to be the go-to San Diego guy on such issues?
Bee grew up listening to his dad’s stories about World War II, and he especially latched on to the notion that he would not have been born if not for the nuclear bomb, as his dad was scheduled to land on Japan in the fall of 1945. At the time, his father was told to expect to be killed 5 seconds after landing on the Japanese beach.
That interest in the use of nuclear arms led Bee to develop a friendship with Herbert York, a physicist who was part of the Manhattan Project, while he was attending UCSD to obtain a bachelor’s in history. York was a director for the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at UCSD, where Bee eventually worked as a director of development and special projects. His research on nuclear weapons led Bee to write a number of books on the subject, such as “Nuclear Proliferation: The Post-Cold War Challenge,” “Seven Minutes to Midnight: Nuclear Weapons After 9/11,” and “Looking the Tiger in the Eye: Confronting the Nuclear Threat,” which was named the 1988 New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His many articles are written on a number of subjects including chemical weapons, NATO, Russia, Asia, the Middle East, energy, geopolitics, and climate change. Bee’s newest book, out next spring, will cover climate change and the global order. It acknowledges that currently two extremes are discussing the topic: the Green New Deal side and the side that believes climate change is a hoax; a solution to the global problem only coming with compromise.
Bee’s focus was always on conflict resolution, especially after dealing with various government entities and presidential administrations, and realizing action was not being taken. This realization led him to determine that by the time decision-makers were in place, it was too late to teach them about conflict resolution and diplomacy. The key would be to educate people prior to becoming world leaders and that global connections would be an important factor. That thought created the Fred J. Hansen Summer Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation at the University of San Diego. Since 2007, more than two dozen students are brought to USD during summer. The participants are selected through an extensive process and they are typically roomed with someone of conflict with their own country — such as an Israeli housed with a Palestinian, or an Indian with a Pakistani. Once the program is over, students are encouraged to bring their training back to their conflict-torn communities in the hopes of creating a more peaceful society.
Educating others is a key motivation for Bee. He’s taught at SDSU, Grossmont, Cuyamaca, and Miramar colleges, in subjects of political science, foreign relations, globalization studies, as well as lectured on many more topics. While he officially “retired” from teaching this year, he continues to serve as the California Academic Supervisor for the Winter Oxford Study Abroad Program. Bee himself studied at Oxford in 1977, studying 17th-century Anglo-French diplomatic relations. The program is open to anyone, and he encourages students to learn the Oxford way — reading with an instructor, which puts more of an emphasis on “thinking.” Students are to take it seriously, must dress appropriately, and most importantly, be prepared for the student/teacher one-on-one sessions.
Bee calls it a “date with your mind.”
Yet, one factor which led to Bee dating his now-wife, Sandie, was they laughed at the same jokes. The couple lives in University City, where they raised their son Christopher, who attended Doyle Elementary, Standley Middle, La Jolla Country Day, and recently graduated from USC. When Chris Bee was younger, you would frequently see Ron Bee help coach his son’s little league teams, while Sandie Bee was keeping the stats. Before starting college, Ron Bee played minor league baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies, but as a third baseman, he was competing against future Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
As somewhat empty nesters now, Bee and his wife enjoy playing golf, drinking beer, and taking care of their dog, Callie. That combination of interests led them to participate as minor owners in Dogleg Brewing Co. in Vista, scheduled to open by next month. The tasting room fuses together golf and craft beer, with a putting green and golf simulator — and is dog-friendly.
So much more can be written about Bee, I suggested that he write a book. For now, future retirement plans (but not in the immediate future) include taking a trailer and visiting all the Major League Baseball parks and national parks. On the road without conflict sounds like a relaxing plan.