Tags: Ben Carson | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | michael hayden | ben carson | instincts | foreign policy

Gen. Michael Hayden: Carson's Instincts 'Alright' on Foreign Policy

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Friday, 13 Nov 2015 10:09 AM

Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden said Friday he's talked with Ben Carson, and believes his "instincts are alright" when it comes to foreign policy, even though as a physician he does have little experience in that arena.

"I had one lengthy phone call with Ben Carson two months ago, and his instincts are alright, but this is a database in which he's very unfamiliar," the former director of the CIA and National Security Agency told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. 

But at the same time, Hayden said that the retired neurosurgeon asked good questions and they had an "honest dialogue."

"I must admit what you see publicly is what you get personally," said Hayden. "[He is] a well-meaning, serious, bright man trying to understand things  which his life experience hasn't given him understanding about in the past."

Carson has come under some fire for saying during this week's GOP debate that China has a presence in Syria along with Russia, while the country has made no deployments there, but Hayden said there may have some confusion over what he meant.

"I think he was trying to say when we're absent from the playing field we leave a vacuum in which other powers may enter," said Hayden. "In this particular case, the Russians are there. I would characterize the Chinese as merely interested. I think he overstated the data in that point."

But still, Hayden said that Carson "asked the right questions," and "gave me a chance to talk and explain it. He had good follow-up questions."

Show co-host Mika Brzezinski, who has often questioned Carson's qualifications to run for president, was incredulous about Hayden's statements, asking Hayden if they were "talking about the same person."

"The phone call was at his initiative," Hayden said. "He wanted to talk to me to get my views on these issues."

And when Brzezinski asked him if any of Carson's statements have concerned him, including a comment in 1998 that the pyramids were used to store grain, not for burial sites, Hayden said there are many statements being made by all the candidates that concern him, not just from Carson.

Hayden also on the program addressed the most recent news on the Islamic State, including reports that infamous terrorist "Jihadi John" had been killed in a drone strike.

"These guys are who they are because they appear to be carrying out the will of God and appear to be the hand of God, and their battlefield success feeds that narrative," he said. "Giving them a bloody nose undercuts their ideological effect."

But he played back against GOP front-runner Donald Trump's claims that he will destroy ISIS with bombings.

"That's treating ISIS less as a movement and less as a terrorist organization and more as a state," said Hayden. "We can punish them with airstrikes, but you know, I said about year and a half ago, airstrikes without ground power is a lot like casual sex. It offers gratification without commitment."

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Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden said Friday he's talked with Ben Carson, and believes his "instincts are alright" when it comes to foreign policy, even though as a physician he does have little experience in that arena.
michael hayden, ben carson, instincts, foreign policy
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2015-09-13
Friday, 13 Nov 2015 10:09 AM
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