There's a lot of talk back and forth with President-elect Donald Trump when it comes to the future of NATO, but ex-CIA Michael Hayden said Tuesday for him to it's time to "push all the trash talk off to the side" and get to "the business of governing."
"Frankly, what the German Chancellor [Angela Merkel] said yesterday in response to the interviews is 'pay not attention to what the president-elect of the United States says,' and frankly, I'm in that club now too," the retired general, now a principal in the Chertoff group, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "I'm waiting for kickoff. Let's get to Friday, get on the field and start doing real things and push all the trash talk off to the side and get on with the business of governing."
Trump has called for NATO to pay its fair share as part of the protective organization, and Hayden agreed that there may be some realigning in store.
NATO supporters say the United States supports the organization for the "good of the order," he continued, but Trump "wants to overthrow that equation" and that makes "a lot of Europeans, a lot of Asians, and frankly a lot of Americans like me very nervous."
Meanwhile, Trump can best reset his reputation and more forward in a more presidential way by putting his phone down, Hayden said, and concentrating on "coherence and integration."
"Don't try to do this in 140 characters," Hayden said, referring to Trump's heavy Twitter use. Instead, the president-elect should "create a unified vision" and communicate it to the American public.
However, Hayden said he's not sure if Trump is really sincere about his calls for the European nations to pay up, or if he's using a tactic to work a deal.
"People don't know whether this is inherently tactical to get a better deal within the broad current structure or restructuring of the current world order," Hayden said. "He's saying America first, but his commentary in those interviews in the last couple of days actually feed European populist movements as well. So he is undermining internationalists in Europe as well and then suggests this is all about a fundamental restructuring rather than just a better deal for Americans within the current structure."
There are also downsides to Trump's comments on China, but still it's good to push back against that nation, Hayden said.
"Frankly the Chinese over the past several years have been acting, from my point of view, very un-Chinese. My last couple of jobs I had insight how they thought strategically. Frankly, it was a thing to behold, patient, strategic, nuanced. Now the Chinese over the past several years have been very nationalistic, very much pushing outward."
However, he does not consider China an enemy of the United States, and there "aren't any good reasons for China to become an enemy."
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