Obama needs new vision for defense: Column

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Obama needs new vision for defense: Column

مُساهمة من طرف ونناسهه في الثلاثاء نوفمبر 25, 2014 7:43 pm


On Monday president Obama announced that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had resigned after less than 2 years in office. As the lone Republican department head, he allowed the White House to maintain the fiction that Obama had surrounded himself with a "cabinet of rivals" in the style of Abraham Lincoln. But Hagel took few stands that would raise eyebrows in the Oval Office. He was soft on sanctions against Iran, favored drastic nuclear weapons cuts, supported direct negotiations with terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and shared Obama's dim view of Israel. He faithfully implemented questionable White House policies placing global warming at the center of national security.

When Hagel succeeded Leon Panetta in February 2013, his job was to oversee Defense Department decline; closing down the war in Afghanistan, cutting the defense budget, reducing troop levels and generally managing the global retrenchment of American power. On a May 2013 trip to Asia he even called waning U.S. hegemony a "good thing" because it would require other countries to step up their game to ensure stability. Back then the Ebola virus was an isolated African disease and the Islamic State was still the "j.v. team."

Yet a series of international crises reconfirmed the old adage that power abhors a vacuum. Russia invaded and annexed the Crimea and fomented a civil war in eastern Ukraine. Iran refused to budge on its nuclear program. Conflict in Syria intensified. Israel was forced to take action against Tehran-backed Hamas in Gaza. China has made a series of aggressive moves in the Pacific. The Ebola crisis showed the Defense Department – and the rest of the administration – incapable of quick response.

Hagel's critical break with the White House appears to have been over the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Even as the White House was saying the threat was manageable, Hagel called ISIS "an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else." Last August Hagel described ISIS as "beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen." This alarming yet accurate assessment was immediately downplayed by the White House which was seeking to soft-pedal the threat. Hagel oversaw the limited coalition operations against ISIS in recent months which have blunted but not significantly degraded the terrorist group. For their part, ISIS is now celebrating "toppling" the U.S.defense secretary.

It may be that, as White House leaks have it, Hagel was "not up to the job." After all he was brought on to close things down at Defense, not launch a new round of wars. However, in an interview with Charlie Rose last week, Hagel said that a leader has to be forward looking. "The main responsibility of any leader is to prepare your institution for the future," he said. "If you don't do that, you've failed."

The most important consideration for the White House when nominating Hagel's successor is, the future will not be the one Obama expected or planned for. It is going to be more violent, more dangerous and less predictable than it was only two years ago. So choose wisely.





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مُساهمة من طرف المحترف الذهبي في الأربعاء نوفمبر 26, 2014 3:47 pm


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مُساهمة من طرف 1BlaCk GlaSs في الأربعاء نوفمبر 26, 2014 9:13 pm


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مُساهمة من طرف Al-SHAM5 في الإثنين ديسمبر 01, 2014 7:11 pm


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مُساهمة من طرف 1M ThE BesT في الثلاثاء ديسمبر 02, 2014 10:40 am


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