Thursday, January 10, 2013

"The Worst Possible Message We Could Send To Our Friend Israel & The Rest Of Our Allies In The Middle East Is Chuck Hagel"

"The Worst Possible Message We Could Send To Our Friend Israel & The Rest Of Our Allies In The Middle East Is Chuck Hagel"

President Obama's nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel as US Secretary of Defense is certainly causing consternation among supporters of Israel.

Jennifer Rubin, who goes on to cite some of the fears being expressed on Capitol Hill about Hagel, opens her article thus:
"President Obama wants to get credit for bipartisanship, so he picks a Republican defense secretary who will garner few if any Republican votes. He walks away from a politically loyal African American woman for secretary of state (whose nomination would open up his political liabilities) but goes forward with a white, Republican man (whose nomination puts gobs of Senate Republicans in an untenable spot). The two groups of Democrats (gays and Jews) who turned out in droves for him watch a nomination proceed with someone who had tried to exclude gays from government and accused Jews of dual loyalty."

One of those Ms Rubin quotes is Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who's declared:
"I will not support Chuck Hagel’s nomination to the Department of Defense. His record and past statements, particularly with respect to rogue nations like Iran, are extremely concerning to me. . . . As Iran becomes increasingly hostile and gains influence in the region, the worst possible message we could send to our friend Israel and the rest of our allies in the Middle East is Chuck Hagel."
Similar fears have been voiced by many others, including Alan Dershowitz, who writes, inter alia (see full article here) that Hagel's nomination 
"risks increasing the likelihood that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. It poses that risk because Hagel is well known for his opposition both to sanctions against Iran and to employing the military option if necessary.
These views are inconsistent with the very different views expressed by President Obama. The President has emphasized on numerous occasions that he will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and will use military force if necessary to prevent that “game changer.”
The nomination of Hagel thus sends a mixed message to the mullahs in Tehran, who will likely interpret it as a change from a red light to a yellow or green one when it comes to their desire to develop nuclear weapons. Sending a mixed message at this point can increase the chances that Iran will miscalculate and act in a foolheartedly manner thus requiring the actual use of the military option—an eventuality that nobody wants...."

 The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) has announced that it
"will vigorously oppose the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as our next Secretary of Defense. We have examined Mr. Hagel's public record, which is marked by an animus toward our friend Israel and a surprising solicitude for our enemies Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. We believe Mr. Hagel's record – both his votes and his statements – place him well outside the American mainstream. We look forward to participating in a full and fair debate on Mr. Hagel's record. We trust, at the conclusion of that debate, the United States Senate will withhold its consent to Mr. Hagel's selection as Secretary of Defense"
Hagel's apologists are fighting back, but see the ECI's itemisation of Senator Hagel's record on key foreign policy issues here