In a time of heightened political tension, Jonathan Haidt has a good idea of what’s driving this polarized atmosphere around the world. He is a social psychologist who believes social media has transformed in recent years to become an “outrage machine,” spreading anger and toxicity. He sits down with Hari to discuss this difficult problem and what the possible solutions could be.
“I think he’s more important than ever,” says former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The question, Mr. Hagel adds, is “how long Mattis can survive in that environment.…There’s an intersection of conflict coming here, and it’s been coming.”
.. the appearance of disconnects between the president and his team on key issues. Consider: Mr. Trump has said the war in Iraq that began in 2003 was one of the biggest strategic blunders in American history. Mr. Bolton has been one of its most vocal champions. Mr. Trump has repeatedly questioned whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Pompeo, the current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has embraced the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia did so. Mr. Trump has scheduled a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Mr. Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has made the case for launching a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea.
.. Which makes Mr. Mattis all the more important as a stabilizing force. He has survived the crosscurrents of Trump administration intrigues through a combination of bureaucratic savvy and careful management of internal splits. Trump advisers say he has mastered the art of convincing the president he agrees with his goals while also sometimes differing with him on how to reach them. He has kept his public profile low enough that he isn’t seen as a rival to the president for attention or glory, while quietly cultivating good relations with members of both parties in Congress.