Iranian government overjoyed at 'anti-Israeli' Hagel choice for defense
There aren't too many Senators happy about Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary. But one foreign government is reporting the news with great glee and in the process, identifying exactly why Senators are hesitant to support him.+
Press TV is a semi-official Iranian news outlet and headlines their story, "Obama to name anti-Israeli Hagel as Defense Secretary: Reports":
In recent days, Hagel's top advisers have received "messages of reassurance" amid the critics' campaign to derail his nomination, the source said.
Hagel's nomination is expected to spark a row in the Senate. Many pro-Israeli groups and neo-conservatives have spouted diatribe against Hagel over his criticism of Washington's anti-Iran policies and Israel's sway over the US political arena.
The top nominee for the post of defense secretary was the first Republican senator to publicly criticize the war in Iraq, calling it the worst foreign policy blunder since the Vietnam War, and he has consistently opposed any plan to launch military strike against Iran.
While Hagel was considering a presidential bid in 2007, he was criticized by the National Jewish Democratic Council which said the senator "has a lot of questions to answer about his commitment to Israel."
In 2009, Hagel signed a statement calling on Obama to encourage a unity government between the two major Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.
Pundits believe the appointment of Hagel could spark tensions between Washington and Tel Aviv, but they predict no considerable trouble in his confirmation process in the Congress as he enjoys bipartisan support.
If the second terms of presidents is all about legacy, I think it's pretty clear what Obama wishes to accomplish during the next 4 years. The economy will never recover enough for him to take credit, and Obamacare will be a curse word by the time he leaves.
Obama will probably want to make a name for himself in foreign policy. And with little hope of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, that leaves one foreign policy spectacular that he thinks he would be remembered for: a grand bargain with Iran.
Kerry and Hagel are the perfect duo to work for some kind of deal with the Iranians. The groundwork has been laid and further negotiations will start sometime this year, as the New York Times reported in October.
If the president can somehow negotiate a deal with Iran that halts enrichment and puts their entire nuclear program under international control, it would indeed be a spectacular achievement. But he will never get that, and is more likely to fail - as all others who have tried previously have failed.