Obama and Hagel Face Iran
Why, they ask, with so many potential candidates to choose from, would the president select an obscure and undistinguished two-term senator who has been out of office and on the sidelines for years.
There are a few explanations but none of them seem to hold water. Some say that Hagel is a maverick Republican, and the president wants a high-level cabinet officer of the opposing party. Others say that Obama and Hagel bonded after Obama was elected to the Senate in 2004.
The real reason for Obama’s selection is more basic and troubling. In selecting Hagel, Obama has thrown caution to the foreign-policy winds and selected a Defense Secretary who shares his views on nearly every crucial aspect of the nation’s defense.
At one point, Hagel felt compelled to state that although he is not a pacifist he is a firm advocate of negotiations and diplomacy at almost all costs. This from a decorated Vietnam War veteran who volunteered for service in that troubled conflict. He has augmented this position with implications that he favors decreased defense spending.
So far so good. These views are entirely in sync with those of the president. But the real issue of the Hagel nomination is the issue of Iran, and the signal that the Obama administration continues to send to the mullahs in Tehran.
Hagel was highly skeptical of tough sanctions against Iran in the face of an uninterrupted nuclear weapons program. He was reluctant to label the Iranian entities as terrorist organizations. He went easy on Hamas and Hezbollah.
Then he made inappropriate comments about the so-called “Jewish lobby,” a code word term that is highly offensive to millions of Americans.
The bottom line here is whether Obama will do anything this spring when Iran formally unveils its nuclear arsenal. Experts predict that when the announcement is made Iran will have six to eight bombs and missiles capable of delivery in the entire Middle East region and Europe.
Then the president will be faced with the ultimate decision. Does he take action to disarm Iran or does he unveil an elaborate program of regional deterrence to protect Middle Eastern nations, including Israel, with the US nuclear umbrella.
The smart money predicts that Obama has long been committed to deterrence, and will make the false analogy between the successful deterrence between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the potential for successful deterrence against Iran.
This is where Obama is likely to have full agreement from Secretary of Defense Hagel. For good measure, the president no doubt will be able to add Secretary of State John Kerry.
No dissent. A solid American policy. But deterrence against Iran will fail. Panic will ensue among many oil-rich Middle Eastern nations, to say nothing of Israel. The march toward nuclear proliferation will be led by Saudi Arabia and the race will be on.
All the while, the Obama administration will be united at the top and will stand idly by as Iran begins total domination of the Middle East.