Tagged Chuck Hagel

We Have a Defense Secretary. But Will He Be Allowed to Lead?

I applaud the nomination of Ashton Carter to be secretary of defense. He is hyper-smart, passionate about defense and national security policy, knows the Pentagon like the back of his hand, is tough and assertive, and he will be a forceful participant in debates about foreign, defense and national security policy. He is, in short, everything that Chuck Hagel was not and is not. (Incidentally, recall that a whole host of people thought that the Hagel nomination would be a wonderful thing because it would stick it to Benjamin Netanyahu for supposedly supporting Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. Not that…

I Pity the Fool Who Becomes the Next Secretary of Defense

More evidence–as though any were needed–that while Chuck Hagel is leaving the Pentagon, bad governance practices designed and implemented by the Obama White House will remain. And those practices have been around for a while: On a trip to Afghanistan during President Barack Obama’s first term, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was stunned to find a telephone line at the military’s special operations headquarters that linked directly back to a top White House national security official. “I had them tear it out while I was standing there,” Gates said earlier this month as he recounted his discovery. “I told the commanders,…

Chuck Hagel Is Leaving, But Problems with the Obama Administration’s National Security Apparatus Will Remain

Let there be absolutely no doubt that Chuck Hagel was at best, an inconsequential secretary of defense, and at worst, a terrible one. But while we ought to be relieved that Hagel has been shown the door, we also ought to be concerned that a completely dysfunctional national security apparatus will remain long after Hagel is gone: Two months before he was pushed out as defense secretary, Chuck Hagel penned a private letter to the White House, arguing for new measures to rein in Russian President Vladimir Putin and greater efforts to reassure anxious European allies, according to officials briefed on the…

I Told You So (Chuck Hagel Edition)

Chuck Hagel was never cut out to be secretary of defense. I wrote as much. Repeatedly (just scroll down, and you will see). Hagel was selected because he was deemed the ideal secretary of defense to preside over declining Pentagon budgets and a declining American presence on the world stage, and astonishingly enough, he was also selected because rabid anti-Israel anti-Semites thought that selecting Hagel as secretary of defense would be a great way to “to pay back Benjamin Netanyahu for all the ‘cooperation’ Obama received from him during the first term, as well as Bibi’s transparent attempt to tip the scale…

Wasn’t the Obama Administration Supposed to Improve the Conduct of American Foreign Policy?

I could swear that was the promise back in 2008. I could also swear that the president claimed to have delivered on that promise when he ran for re-election. And yet . . . When President Obama, after months of equivocation over how to respond to the takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria by radical militants, announced in September that the United States would “lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” the White House swung quickly into action, sending proposed legislation to train and equip Syrian rebels to Capitol Hill that same day. Unfortunately, the White…

When Even the New York Times Editorial Board Pans an Obama Speech . . .

Boy, I guess that foreign policy address given yesterday really didn’t go over well: President Obama and his aides heralded his commencement speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday as a big moment, when he would lay out his foreign policy vision for the remainder of his term and refute his critics. The address did not match the hype, was largely uninspiring, lacked strategic sweep and is unlikely to quiet his detractors, on the right or the left. [. . .] In his speech, Mr. Obama tried to push back against critics who say he has…

The Obama Doctrine and How It Is Lacking

President Obama offered his foreign policy vision at West Point today. David Rothkopf finds a great deal to dislike about it (the critique is long and thorough, so I wouldn’t do justice to it by excerpting; you should just read the whole thing). Additionally Admiral James Stavridis points out that for all of the talk about cooperation and partnership in the crafting and implementation of foreign policy, the president’s speech left out two vital components of how we can best create security: the power of interagency cooperation, and — above all — private-public partnerships. As we approach deeply challenging situations in Afghanistan,…

In Which I Am Disappointed. Again. (China Policy Edition)

I had hoped that the Obama administration would put the kibosh on efforts on the part of the Chinese to expand their air defense zone. I had hoped that the administration would be both firm and adroit with the Chinese, and that the administration would cause the Chinese to believe that they could retreat from any potential conflict without losing face, thus making such a retreat more likely. And I had hoped that the administration would restore American power and credibility abroad in the process. So much for those hopes: After its initial, surprisingly strong reaction to China’s declaration of an air…

A Better Media, Please

If Steve Clemons ever wants to be take seriously as a blogger, as a reporters, as anyone with anything interesting to say about the issues of the day, perhaps it would help if his pool reports weren’t so annoyingly self-indulgent and propagandistic. I would be interested in finding out what Clemons’s reaction to all of this is, but I guess that he is too busy giving fawning and obsequious interviews to people like Chuck Hagel. One doesn’t have to read past the title of Clemons’s post to realize that this interview will be anything but “hard hitting.”

Devastating Criticism for the Obama Administration on Syria

From two of the administration’s former defense secretaries, and from its former acting director of Central Intelligence: President Obama’s first two defense secretaries publicly questioned the administration’s handling of the Syrian crisis on Tuesday night and expressed skepticism about whether Russia can broker a deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons. In a joint appearance in Dallas, both former Pentagon chiefs, Robert M. Gates and Leon E. Panetta, were critical of Mr. Obama for asking Congress to authorize the use of force against Syria in retaliation over its use of chemical weapons. But they disagreed on whether military action would be…