January 7th, 2013

If Obama nominates Hagel for Defense…

…—and it appears by all accounts that he plans to do so—it will be another example of (as I wrote in a similar context for Obama’s nomination of John Kerry for State) Obama’s “keen sense of humor…for what better way to enrage the majority of conservative[s]“?

In the case of Hagel, the nomination has the added delicious fillip (for Obama, that is) of not just enraging conservatives and all supporters of Israel, but of also providing Obama the cover of saying he’s being bipartisan because Hagel is a Republican.

No doubt he’ll tap Pat Buchanan for Deputy Secretary of Defense. Wouldn’t that be funny, too?

When I wrote the above sentence, it was a joke. But then I wondered what Pat Buchanan’s stand was on Hagel, and so I Googled it. Sure enough, he’s strongly in favor:

The latest endorsement of Hagel should give the aforementioned some pause. It comes from none other than the paleo-conservative, isolationist, and anti-Israel zealot whose anti-Semitism is second to none, Pat Buchanan. In his column, Buchanan echoes all of the now familiar “realist” themes, but unlike the others — who try to distance Hagel from being crudely anti-Israel (indeed, they back him by making the argument his appointment would be better for Israel) — Buchanan wants Hagel precisely because he sees him as one who would stand firm against the Jewish nation.

Buchanan, like Walt and Mearsheimer, believes in the undue power of the insidious Israeli lobby, of which he says: “Its existence is the subject of books and countless articles,” and it always gets bills it supports passed — they are “whistled through” Congress whenever one comes up.

Hagel is opposed, Buchanan writes, because he does not “treat these [AIPAC] sacred texts with sufficient reverence,” and because Hagel “puts U.S. national interests first,” especially when “those interests clash with the policies of the Israeli government.”

One must understand, when reading these words, that Buchanan always believes that whatever Israel supports should be opposed by the United States.

He singles out, just as the Left does, the new settlement construction, which he describes inaccurately as “bisecting the West Bank,” and a move that will “kill any chance for a Palestinian state.” Evidently, Mr. Buchanan does not see any of the self-defeating rejectionist policies of both Fatah and Hamas as having anything to do with the failure of the Palestinians to get a state of their own.

Next, Buchanan argues in favor of talking with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, as if such talks have ever led anywhere or would in the future. He uses the analogy of Harry Truman talking to Stalin. What he leaves out, circa Stone and Kuznick, is that Truman learned from recalcitrant Soviet behavior of the futility of such talks, and he proceeded to take a hard line in opposition to the growth of the Soviet empire.

In this case, what Buchanan and company favor is bending to Iran’s will and essentially allowing a nuclear Iran to develop. (After all, as others have argued, the mullahs need a bomb to protect themselves from Israeli aggression!)

Here’s an interesting take on why Obama is so interested in nominating Hagel: because they are alike in putting politics above foreign policy principle. I disagree; I think that the author has merely failed to discern the foreign policy principle under which Obama operates.

[ADDENDUM: DrewM at Ace’s thinks that the Hagel nomination is a “fundamentally unserious” one, and explains why. But if you look at his post, which describes Hagel’s stance on many foreign policy issues, plus his inexperience at managing anything remotely like Defense, you’ll see that (a) Hagel resembles Obama; and (b) Hagel is very much like many of Obama’s other appointmentees in not being more expert than Obama on the subject for which he’s being nominated. In other words, he will either be in agreement with Obama or someone who can be easily pushed around by Obama.

That is what Obama has sought quite consistently in nominees: he values agreement and/or incompetence in his underlings.

And they’re all underlings.]

[ADDENDUM II: A little stroll down memory lane: the unseriousness of the Panetta nomination.]

32 Responses to “If Obama nominates Hagel for Defense…”

  1. Occam's Beard Says:

    Fortunately, Obama didn’t nominate Sheila Jackson-Lee for SecState, and Hank Johnson for SecDef (or the other way ’round).

    Of course, his decision is understandable. Who wants to be upstaged intellectually?

  2. ziontruth Says:

    “Hagel is opposed, Buchanan writes, … because Hagel ‘puts U.S. national interests first,’…”

    We’ll see, we’ll see. We’ll find out if it’s really U.S. national interests he puts first, or those of the Islamic Oil Lobby (OIC and the rest, who are now telling the French to stop the publishing of a comic book about Mo).

    “He singles out, just as the Left does, the new settlement construction,…”

    And that, my friends, means Buchanan is no isolationist, he’s only pretending to be one.

    Calling for cutting off foreign aid is isolationism, fine. Telling another nation-state where it may or may not build on its own territory (disputes over that territory notwithstanding) is interventionism of the most blatant kind.

    All this underscores the point I’ve made time and again about the paleocons: They’re right-wing on fiscal policy but left-wing about everything else, most of all foreign policy. And, as isolationists they’re total frauds.

  3. Old Rebel Says:

    Hagel had the audacity to say that he was a US senator, not an Israeli senator. To the Israel-firsters, that was blasphemy.

    Just as leftists scream that resistance to affirmative action and open borders can only arise from “racism,” Neocons whine that failing to subsidize Israel is anti-Semitism.

    “Mainstream” conservatism accepts amnesty for illegal aliens, domestic surveillance, and the loss of gun rights as long as American taxpayers prop up Israel, a wealthy country that does not need our subsidies. News flash: We’re broke. Time to take care of our own.

  4. ziontruth Says:

    “Hagel had the audacity to say that he was a US senator, not an Israeli senator.”

    The jury is out on whether he’s a U.S. senator or a lackey for the Islamic imperialist agenda. As I said, we’ll find out.

    “To the Israel-firsters, that was blasphemy.”

    To Islam-firsters, music to their ears.

    “Neocons whine that failing to subsidize Israel is anti-Semitism.”

    Paleocons disguise the appeasement of Islam on the Jewish State’s expense as isolationism.

    “News flash: We’re broke. Time to take care of our own.”

    I’m all for that. I’m a true isolationist, unlike the paleocon pretenders to that title. I’m all for the U.S. both cutting its military hardware loans to Israel (that’s all U.S. aid to Israel amounts to today) and keeping mum when we expel all the Arab settler-colonists out of the Land of Israel.

    However, something tells me that’s not to be. Something tells me U.S. cash is going to continue to flow to Egypt and Saudi Arabia despite being broke, and that Hagel’s idea of “taking care of our own” will mean bribing the Islamic Oil Lobby with payments of Jewish land.

    I fervently hope to be wrong about this. I’m not that hopeful, though.

  5. Old Rebel Says:

    ziontruth,

    We seem to be having a violent agreement.

    I’m all for cutting foreign aid – ALL foreign aid. As for Islam, I don’t want to see Islam advance anywhere, but especially here at home.

    Israel has the right to define its own culture, including barring Africans and hostile Muslims from overwhelming its population. Every nation has that right. Guess that makes me a Zionist, too.

  6. ziontruth Says:

    Old Rebel,

    Looks like I misjudged you, you’re really an isolationist. I hope—but again, my hopes aren’t high—Hagel is one too.

    “Every nation has that right.”

    Just what I’ve always said.

    “Guess that makes me a Zionist, too.”

    And I often sound like a European nationalist, by the same token. My interest in what’s going on Western Europe, though, doesn’t stem from a desire to butt into European affairs, but from the idea that all nation-states would benefit by taking warnings from each other’s situations. I contend that the multiculturalist assault now ravaging Europe is exactly the plan the Marxist/Islamic alliance has for the Jewish State—death by suicide through “equal rights,” meaning demographic overpowerment.

    Apologies for my knee-jerk defensive reaction. I shouldn’t be automatically against paleocons, but appeasers like Buchanan have given isolationism a bad name.

  7. Baltimoron Says:

    I’m not sure the bipartisan angle will work for the president here. Since Hagel hasn’t done anything (good or bad) that would get the attention of the average independent voter, this is an argument that will mostly take place between partisans.

    The interesting question that I see is how well the Democrats will hold together on this issue. So far I’ve seen a lot of carefully worded, noncommittal statements from Democratic Senators about Hagel’s nomination. they obviously don’t like the guy, but they also don’t want their president to look bad.

    By the way, Old Rebel, foreign aid is a rounding error in the national budget. This year we’ll spend a little less than $3 billion on Israel and more than $66 billion on farm subsidies.

  8. ziontruth Says:

    “…foreign aid is a rounding error in the national budget. This year we’ll spend a little less than $3 billion on Israel and more than $66 billion on farm subsidies.”

    It should still be cut off, though, because it’s not good for Israel. Although it’s a loan, not a free gift as a lot of people mistakenly think, it’s still an attaching string. Plain dealing is far more preferable—you sell, we buy, deal done, nothing else, that way everyone’s happy.

    And don’t forget there are more recipients of U.S aid apart from Israel. That rounding error gets bigger; sooner or later we’re talking about real Chinese money. When the Dutch rehabilitated their country after WWII with the help of the Marshall Plan, they knew they couldn’t use that money to fund their administration of Indonesia, so they consented to give independence. A matter of priorities.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    [Hagel] “will either be in agreement with Obama or someone who can be easily pushed around by Obama.”

    Yes.

    Obama has two foreign policy goals; employing the tactic of reducing America to at best, military parity with Russia and China in pursuit of a strategy whose goal is the loss of America’s national sovereignty and, maneuvering Israel into a position from which it cannot recover; the sudden loss of American military, political and financial support.

    He seeks the destruction of Israel through indirect means.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “We’ll find out if it’s really U.S. national interests he [Hagel] puts first” ziontruth

    We already have that answer. He does not, unless you are prepared to assert that Obama places US National Interests first…and that Obama’s policies are best for America.

    Hagel will do nothing of which Obama does not approve. Hagel has agreed to serve and assist Obama, that alone tells us of his intentions.

  11. kaba Says:

    Obama deserves some credit here. It can’t be easy to find people less knowledgeable and competent than he is to fill these positions.

  12. Bob from Virginia Says:

    I wonder how many note that the nomination of another amateur to a position of authority is further evidence of Obama’s basic insecurity. He attempts to hide his own incompetence from himself by surrounding himself with greater incompetents. He can appear knowledgeable only among the unknowing.

    Or as Machiavelli said, you can evaluate a leader by the people he surrounds himself with.

    This generation will be remembered as the silliest generation because of the 2012 election.

  13. kcom Says:

    There’s an old saying about that but I can’t find the specific wording right now. But it goes something along the lines of:

    Successful people aren’t afraid to hire people smarter than themselves, because they realize it’s a benefit to them and the organization. Less accomplished people hire people less than themselves so they can avoid feeling upstaged.

    Put even more simply it’s like this:

    Success oriented B’s are not afraid to hire A’s.

    Self-concious and self-important B’s make sure to hire only C’s.

  14. Don Carlos Says:

    Bob from VA:
    Silliness does not even begin to explain the ‘generation’ that made 2012 possible. He who controls history controls the future, and I feel with considerable pain that the history written of the past decade will reflect that. The Sillies will go down as the Good Guys, since it is they in their victories who will write it.

    As to Hagel, what is it with the Heartland, anyway? First it gives us Sibelius, next Hagel. Don’t leave Tom Harkin out of this puzzle, either, or that Carnahan from MO. The Heartland competes with the bi-Coastal in the generation of demons and political monsters.

  15. Occam's Beard Says:

    Plain dealing is far more preferable—you sell, we buy, deal done, nothing else, that way everyone’s happy.

    Semi-OT: I tell my kids that. Don’t consider promises or other assurances from future employers that if you do want they want now, they’ll do something nice for you … later.

    No dice, I teach them. Go for cash on the barrel head, or if you decide to accept, value any such promises as worthless (because increasingly they will be as financial Armageddon looms). Cash and carry is the way to go.

  16. parker Says:

    I’m on pins and needles waiting for BHO to appoint Bill Maher his Czar of Propaganda.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d3Rir545As

  17. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Hagel, IMO, is not qualified for the job. The DOD is the biggest management job in the USA, maybe in the world. Hagel was a hero as an enlisted grunt in Vietnam and I salute him for that. However, nothing he has done qualifies him for a post this big and difficult. Forget his policy views or foreign policy statements, this job is mostly about efficient management of a huge and diverse organization. My guess is that the Generals and Admirals will run over him like a semi running over a Yugo.

    Don Rumsfeld had much more management experience than Chuck Hagel and the job was a huge challenge for him. Bob Gates had managed the CIA and Texas A&M – much more management experience than Hagel has. Panetta was a Democratic politician, lawyer, and professor before heading the CIA and then DOD. He was primarily a political operative who kept the seat warm until Obama was re-elected.

    Of course that is the reason why Obama would pick Hagel. Obama has no experience for his job and it shows every day. Why pick someone who could actually do the job?

  18. csimon Says:

    i definitely feel that it is a considered, deliberate choice designed to stick the middle finger to the GOP, essentially daring them to fight these nominations after the Susan Rice deal.

    But he relies on a lot of Jews for support and financial $. He might not need campaign $ again, but he will want money for future endeavors – including his Library and Lord knows what he’ll cook up. After all, I don’t think Rev. Wright’s congregation can fill his coffers in the same way.

    I know there are anti-Zionist Jews out there. But not enough to come close to the Jewish population that has so consistently supported Obama.

    As for his Administration, he has a large cadre of Jews, especially at the top (starting with Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, and can’t forget Penny Pritzger (member of the family that owns Hyatt) who led his financial fund-raising team in first election tho’ about 1/2-way thru 1st term announced she would not do so in this last election. (a surprising turn, but not much info other than that she’ “be involved” in some way, though really didn’t hear the Pritzger name at all this last go round. I’ve also heard that there are some who don’t like that (the large contingent of Jews in Administration, particularly in high positions).

    Plus, given Obama’s obvious dislike of Israel, and most particularly Bibi Netanyahu, it’s even more of an “I don’t get it” to me.a

    Anyway, the Republicans are not Hagel’s only problem. From what I understand, there are many Dems who are none too happy with the Hagel choice, too. I’m assuming that is because not only are there a lot of Jewish Dems, but even among those who are not, much of their financial support comes from Jews. (AIPAC, for one — the large and powerful Jewish lobbying group who were none too happy with Obama’s demonstrably antagonistic attitude toward the country. I know he pulled out all the stops when they met in Washington before the campaign, but don’t know what he said to pursuade them to hang with him.

    In the last election he lost about 10% of the Jewish vote that he had in 1st election. I’m still trying to figure why it wasn’t more like 75%! But then, as said above, I’m mystified by the blind allegiance so many Jews have to the Democratic Party.

    (Note: I’m a proud Jew myself and mean no disrespect to others because of their faith. I just “don’t get” the whole Jewish- Democrat thing, and particularly, in the case of Obama and his consistent attitude over time).

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    csimon: I’ve never read this book, although it’s on my lengthy “to-read” list. But I hear it’s an interesting attempt to answer the question.

  20. rickl Says:

    kcom Says:
    January 7th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Successful people aren’t afraid to hire people smarter than themselves, because they realize it’s a benefit to them and the organization. Less accomplished people hire people less than themselves so they can avoid feeling upstaged.

    Put even more simply it’s like this:

    Success oriented B’s are not afraid to hire A’s.

    Self-concious and self-important B’s make sure to hire only C’s.

    The way I heard it is:

    First rate people hire first rate people.

    Second rate people hire third rate people.

    The reasoning being that first rate people want to hire the best possible employees they can find, and are confident enough not to worry about being upstaged by them. Second rate people are less secure about their own abilties, and make sure to hire only those they know won’t upstage them.

    (This is why I thought Sarah Palin would have made a good President. Whatever her limitations, I believe she would have surrounded herself with the best advisors she could find.)

  21. Tom the Redhunter Says:

    One advantage of a Hagel nomination is that it will bring all the anti-Israel and anti-Jew haters out into the open. And lo and behold it looks like we’ve got a few here who are at least in the former amp. Yes, a few fake-conserative Ron Paul/Pat Buchanan types, I think. Buchanan is at least somewhat tolerable, but Paul is a complete nut.

    Israel is the one decent country in the region, and indeed one of the few good ones in the world that is worth supporting. And yes, I’ve been there.

    Hagel’s anti-Israel attitude is enough to condemn him in my book, but throw in that he’s a man of little substance and a senator with a weak record and he shouldn’t be nominated to any cabinet post, let alone SecDef.

    Obama nominated him because one, he agrees with his world view, and two to stick it to Republicans and Israel. Obama is terribly partisan and an Israel hater, so he and Hagel are two peas in a pod.

    As for eliminating ALL foreign aid, that’s just idiotic and so far out there it’s not worthy of serious discussion.

  22. Tom the Redhunter Says:

    “who are at least in the former amp”

    should of course be

    “who are at least in the former camp”

    my bad

  23. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    From Powerline:
    “So far most of the critical discussion about Chuck Hagel for SecDef is that he said mean things about homosexuals, or is hostile to Israel, if not in fact anti-Semitic. So far I’m curious that people on the Left in particular are forgetting Hagel’s key role in derailing the egregious Kyoto Protocol in its infancy. He was the key person behind the “Byrd-Hagel” resolution in the Senate in 1997 denouncing the Kyoto treaty in the draft form that existed at the time. The Byrd-Hagel resolution was essentially a missile aimed at the Clinton administration that said Don’t even think of bringing this crap treaty to the Senate if it doesn’t include India and China. It passed by a vote of 97 – 0; think of who was included in that vote for this to happen—such prominent ‘climate deniers’ as Babs Boxer and John Kerry.”…………
    ………”I wonder if the environmentalists will say something cross about Hagel. Not everyone on the Left has forgotten this. The Daily Kos Kids have their knickers bunched up at least.”
    http://tinyurl.com/asod9uy

    Based on his successful efforts to kill Kyoto, I think he would make a great Energy Secretary. But of course we can’t have that. Obama is going to stop the rise of the seas this term.

  24. Gary Rosen Says:

    Some people have pointed out that it really doesn’t matter what Hagel’s views are, what matters are what Obama’s views are. While I’m hardly a fan of the Hagel nomination there is a sort of precedent for this. The Reagan administration was generally very pro-Israel, with one notable exception – Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger. Of course one big difference is that the Obama administration is *not* “generally very pro-Israel”.

    Aside from Hagel’s views on Israel and the rest of foreign policy there is a more basic question – is he really the most qualified person for the job? Why didn’t Obama pick a more obvious candidate like say Wesley Clark? With Obama there is always a hidden agenda. In this case it may be as petty as just showing he can ram Hagel through knowing there was bound to be a lot of opposition to him and not just because of his views on Israel.

  25. rickl Says:

    Speaking of “unserious”, here’s a recent Bill Whittle video: Unserious People

  26. parker Says:

    “Why didn’t Obama pick a more obvious candidate like say Wesley Clark? With Obama there is always a hidden agenda. In this case it may be as petty as just showing he can ram Hagel through knowing there was bound to be a lot of opposition to him and not just because of his views on Israel.”

    Its all about the mannish boy flashing the middle finger at any and all who oppose his narcissistic dreams of his father.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc8Wc1CN7sY

  27. Promethea Says:

    It’s late, and I haven’t read the above comments. But since I’ve had enough bourbon to make me uninhibited, I can with confidence say that:

    Antisemites are jackasses.

    It doesn’t matter who Obama appoints to anything. He is a jackass, and we will be rid of him soon. The traitors in the Democratic party and the wimps in the Republican party will be replaced by men with chests and women with courage.

  28. Promethea Says:

    csimon @ 8:32 . . .

    “(Note: I’m a proud Jew myself and mean no disrespect to others because of their faith. I just “don’t get” the whole Jewish- Democrat thing, and particularly, in the case of Obama and his consistent attitude over time.”

    Dear csimon,

    I think it’s time to recognize the fact that Jews are just not as smart as they think they are. Maybe it’s inbreeding. Maybe it’s their general lack of contact with the physical world. Being “brainy” is very nice, but it’s meaningless when the enemy is approaching.

    We are under attack, and all our “nice” friends and relatives are in denial or refuse to think about the nasties who want to kill us. What does that say about Jews? Nothing very good, I’m afraid.

    We are the generation who had to wander in the desert for 40 years. Because of decadence and stupidity.

    BTW, Rahm Immanuel and David Axelrod are evil men, like Trotsky and Yagoda. We don’t need to claim them as our kinfolk. They should be shunned.

  29. parker Says:

    “We are under attack…”

    Yes, we are and it does not matter if you are goy, jew, conservative, or simply an useful idiot leftist kool-aid drinker too stupid to realize you are a target. The only question is how we, as individuals will respond. I will soon be 65, bring it on before I’m too old to be effective for 30 seconds, ;-)

  30. Gary Rosen Says:

    Parker:

    “Its all about the mannish boy flashing the middle finger”

    I was thinking of using the phrase “give the finger” in my post. I guess I got my point across :^).

  31. kcom Says:

    Thanks, Rickl. That was it. I guess I didn’t come up with the right words to search for.

  32. sheldan Says:

    Csimon and Neo,

    I have read that book, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand why Jews have been liberals. Be sure to read the last couple of chapters for an excellent summary.

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