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“Overall, we are less safe” as a country under President Donald Trump, said Gen. Hayden, who blamed the current instability under Trump in part on a “post-truth culture.”
One big change, he said, is that under Trump, America can’t be trusted as the same force for stability that it’s been historically.
“It’s us. We are the most disruptive force in the world today,” he said. “We are changing directions in really, really dramatic ways, largely in the face of the standing government institutions that have traditionally helped Presidents make decisions.”
Hayden is the author of a new book, “The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies.” While he’s been critical of Trump, the issues are broader than the president, he said.
“It’s not just this administration, but American society is broadly in a post-truth culture in which decisions are based less on data and fact and evidence and more on emotions, preference, fear, and anxiety.”
When they came on air, hosts Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein had just learned the news that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had three Americans freed from North Korea with him on a plane, returning to the United States.
Hayden said the nation should celebrate this moment and congratulate the administration on its diplomatic breakthrough and the hostage release. But he still had serious doubts about trusting North Korea's dictator Kim Jung Un. He also worries about Trump’s rhetoric when it comes to Kim – whom the president has mocked as “Little Rocket Man.”
“That kind of rhetoric is inherently dangerous,” he said.
Hayden also wonders if the North Korean leader is playing his own game of cat-and-mouse.
“The most dramatic progress made on North Korean missiles and nuclear efforts has taken place in the last 18 months, and we may be where we are because Kim’s decided he’s got what he needs now. He can park the car.
“And what does he get in return? He gets a visit from the president of the United States. He gets a sense of equivalency on the international scene.“