OREM, Utah -- Retired Four Star General Michael Hayden introduced himself as "Mike" as he prepared to speak to students at Utah Valley University, but his unassuming nature contrasts with his sharp critiques of a president he thinks is making the world less stable with each offhand comment and tweet.
"Those words have meaning beyond him, and I don't think he recognizes that," said Hayden about President Donald Trump.
Hayden served as Director of the National Security Agency for six years in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. He served as CIA director under Bush and Obama.
He told students the world is anxious for leadership from the U.S.
"The rest of the world is looking at us, wondering what do we Americans think our responsibilities are to both shape and sustain global order," Hayden said.
Speaking to students, Hayden focused on what he sees as "tectonic" shifts in the post industrial world.
Hayden's tectonic shifts:
1. A changing meaning of states and state power
2. Institutions we thought were permanent proven not to be
3. The proliferation of nuclear materials to more unstable actors
4. The rise of China and, 5. America's indecision about its role in the new world.
Hayden suggested the students use such categories to take a long-term view of national and international developments. Those shifts combine with the de-centralization of information through technology, shaking the world up in a way humans haven't experienced since the age of exploration when sailing ships brought previously isolated cultures into contact.