Monday, February 12, 2018


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     General Michael Hayden  is a retired four-star Air Force general who served as Director of the National Security Agency and head of the CIA under Presidents Bush and Obama.  Hayden spoke yesterday at the opening session of the National Grocers Association convention in Las Vegas.  His 45 minute speech had three points: (a) This is not the most dangerous times that Americans have lived in (Cuban missile crisis, WWII), (2)America faces some immediate foreign threats, and (3) These are chaotic, confusing times in America foreign policy.
     Hayden doesn’t appear to be a fan of President Trump, but repeatedly told the independent grocers that he was just ‘reporting the facts’ and letting them decide if America’s foreign policy strategy was the right one.  His analysis of the threats: North Korea, Iran/Syria, and Russia were insightful.  “We only have two choices in dealing with North Korea- either war or negotiation.  Just before I came out on stage, I got a tweet saying Vice President Pence said the U.S. is willing to sit down with North Korea and talk.  I think that’s good news,” Hayden said.  In regards to Russia, he pointed out that Russia, a nuclear power, was not an economic one.  “The GDP of Russia is less than the GDP of the state of California.  Putin is trying to rally the Russian people to believe they are as powerful as they were when they were the USSR and that is simply not true,” the general said.
     When asked by an audience member if he thought Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation would find Trump’s campaign taking a meeting with the Russians violated the law, Hayden said he thought Muller would find it to be ‘political malpractice,’(whatever that means) but not against the law.
      Hayden did have an interesting observation regarding President Trump’s foreign policy.  “The past 75 years, since WWII, America’s foreign policy has been about global inclusiveness.  President Trump has changed that.  With him, it’s America First.  It is interesting that many of the people he has in his cabinet are globalists, but he is not.  He has pulled out of trade agreements, the climate change agreement and has said he will pull out of the Iran agreement.  While the Iran agreement is not as strong as it should be, it is better than no agreement at all,” Hayden said.
     A tense moment in Hayden’s talk was when an audience member’s question, which had to be submitted on-line or via Twitter, asked him about his role in in intercepting calls between Americans and foreign telephones after 9/11- code name, Stellar Wind.  Hayden contended the constitution allowed it because it didn’t rise to the level of ‘unreasonable,’ because of the threat to national security.  He jokingly said former CIA director George Tenet thought Hayden would go to jail for violating the privacy of citizens, but said that Vice President Cheney told him he would bail him out.
     Hayden was critical of the POTUS without being overt.  While asked about Trump’s tweeting, Hayden said foreign government spies spend millions trying to know determine how a U.S. president thinks.  “Our current POTUS gives them an ID every morning in 140 characters,” Hayden said.  He said Trump’s brashness, while acceptable as a NYC real estate developer, isn’t appropriate as POTUS. 
     Hayden is a globalist and clearly believes Trump is a threat to the globalist ideology.  He may be right- give Trump eight years and he may unravel the post WWII/ nation building foreign policy that has been a disaster for America.

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