General Michael Hayden at Dairy Forum 2017
General Michael Hayden, a principal of the Chertoff Group and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, kicked off Dairy Forum during the Sunday evening Chairman’s Lecture with a discussion of the changes that are buffeting the world today. He also offered a frank assessment of U.S. security, especially following President Donald Trump’s executive order to restrict immigrants and refugees from seven mainly Muslim countries from entering the country.
“Buckle up,” Hayden said, adding, “It’s going to be a tough century.” He opened his remarks saying he’s never seen the world more complicated or immediate, but he has seen it more dangerous. He outlined five tectonic shifts that are complicating and changing lives around the globe and that are creating or could create significant concerns for national security.
Tectonic One: The Power of States and The Nature of Power
Easy accessibility to technology and its universal use have pushed power down to an individual level where failed nation states create greater risk for the United States than conquering states. These threats, which include terrorism, transnational crime and cyberattacks, are amplified by the continued growth of globalization.
Tectonic Two: Things That Seemed Permanent Are Proving Not to Be
The post-World War II global order is gone, and terms that were set during that time, such as citizenship, state and government, are constantly changing. Syria is gone, Lebanon and Libya are following suit, and the Middle East may no longer be composed of nation states, Hayden said. Solutions are no longer as easy to determine because countries no longer have constants to use when solving for variables; all are variables now, he added.
Tectonic Three: States That Are Brittle, Ambitious … and Nuclear
Although he mentioned North Korea, Iran and Russia as examples, Hayden focused mainly on Russia, saying that it’s “trending nuclear again.” He said Russian President Vladimir Putin “weaponized” the information that Russia “stole from emails” during the U.S. presidential campaign. According to Hayden, the plan was to weaken Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but Russian tactics changed when they noticed they could make a difference in the election. Hayden acknowledged that the impact on the campaign is unknown but said it was “a massive effort” on the part of the Russians.
Tectonic Four: The Rise of China
China is not an enemy of the United States, Hayden said. The country has some fundamental flaws in structure that could hurt it in the future, and its failure would be a much bigger worry to U.S. national security than its current success.
Tectonic Five: The United States
Hayden outlined four types of presidential foreign policy styles devised by historian Walter Russell Mead: Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian and Jacksonian. Hamiltonian presidents believe if the country is prosperous, people will be happy. Wilsonian presidents are idealistic and want to make the world safe again. Obama was a Wilsonian-type president, Hayden said. Jeffersonian presidents tend to be inward looking and stay focused at home. Jacksonian presidents are organized around swagger and bluster, Hayden said, adding that Mead pegged President Trump as a Jacksonian who is “nationalist, populist, suspicious of the outside world – and willing to use force to beat it back.”
According to Hayden, he expects to see the following from the Trump Administration:
- Immigration will be seen more as a threat than a strategic advantage;
- Foreign engagements will be reluctant, limited and short;
- Free trade will be challenged as a principle of American prosperity;
- Alliances will be seen more as transactional than strategic relationships;
- Expect a peer and near-peer shuffle? China down? Russia up?
- The fight against terror will be fundamentally more about combat power.
Hayden also noted that agriculture plays an important role in national security.
Speaking about the executive order issued last week to restrict immigration to the United States, Hayden told the audience, “You are less safe than you were on Friday.” He said orders like this will only end up hurting the United States, then added, “This is an abomination, and we should be ashamed.”
Following the lecture, IDFA invited contributors of the Ice Cream, Milk and Cheese Political Action Committee (PAC) to meet with Hayden and receive a signed copy of his 2016 book, “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror.”