Don't like Chuck Hagel's views? Wait a few

Article Highlights

  • Hagel has displayed lemming-like political transformations

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  • Now that he’s up for SecDef, Hagel is busy repudiating all of his old views

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  • Hagel’s mercurial nature is yet another reason to wonder why Obama wished him to hold a cabinet posting.

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“Courage”: A word we hear tossed around promiscuously about Chuck Hagel. About his Vietnam career? Nope. About personal travails? Nope. Chuck Hagel is a “courageous” man because he changes his mind. A lot.

Bret Stephens of the WSJ was among the first to detail Hagel’s lemming-like political transformations. Hate the gays when no one cared; love the gays when they do. Hate gays in the military when it was cool; love it when it isn’t. Iraq war? Yes, then no.

And today, Eli Lake has a fine piece up on the Daily Beast detailing Hagel’s determined climb up the greasy pole of political favor. In 2000, he reportedly begged to endorse George W. Bush. But when John McCain’s star began rising, Hagel clambered over Bush and endorsed McCain.

Now that he’s up for SecDef, Hagel is busy repudiating all of his old views, leaking via Obama administration officials and cronies in DC that he has once again grown in office, showing the courage that is his hallmark. Suddenly, he’s tough on Iran.  Believes strongly in the US-Israel alliance. Loves the gays. It remains to be seen whether he will learn to love abortion and hate guns, but anything is possible.

Hagel’s, er, mercurial nature is yet another reason to wonder why Barack Obama wished this man to hold a cabinet posting. Because one thing is for certain, it will only be a matter of time before he changes his mind about the principles he insists upon today.

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About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


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    Email: dpletka@aei.org
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