There is no better summary of President Obama’s view of American foreign policy and the use of our nation’s power in this century than the nomination of former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Like John Kerry, Hagel is a decorated Vietnam veteran who can no longer stomach the sight of war. He’d rather see its elimination, than realize its reality. Wikipedia summarizes Hagel’s view on many important policy positions relevant to the post for which he seeks:
* Supported the Iraq War before he turned his back on it opposing the surge calling it “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out.” Hagel was wrong about the surge, refuses to admit it even in his confirmation hearings just a few days ago.
* Opposed the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah stating that: “The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now. President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop.” He also said “Our relationship with Israel is special and historic… But it need not and cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships. That is an irresponsible and dangerous false choice.”
* Despite authorizing the use of force as a United States Senator immediately after 9/11, has stated more recently in a 2009 Washington Post op-ed after being nominated as Chairman of President Obama’s Intelligence advisory board, that “We cannot view U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan through a lens that sees only ‘winning’ or ‘losing,’ Iraq and Afghanistan are not America’s to win or lose.” And that “We can help them buy time or develop, but we cannot control their fates.” In 2011, after he left office, Hagel stated that President Obama needs to start “looking for the exit in Afghanistan”, and that “We need to start winding this down.”
No wonder so many of Hagel’s former colleagues have serious reservations about his confirmation — including his formerly close friend Senator John McCain. It’s sad that President Obama’s foreign policy apparatus — if had his way — would be led by two Baby Boomer peaceniks like former Senators Kerry and Hagel whose beliefs are as wobbly as the old vinyl records they used to play.