13 January 2016

F%$# Me, I Agree with Chuck Hagel

He was generally clueless as a Senator and as Secretary of Defense, but his statement that the US focus on deposing Bashar al Assad is crippling us diplomatically and militarily is spot on:
The US has backed itself into a corner by insisting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad be removed from power before the Obama administration will work with Russia and Iran to fight the Islamic State group, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said.

“We have allowed ourselves to get caught and paralyzed on our Syrian policy by the statement that ‘Assad must go,’” Hagel said at a Wednesday event hosted by the Atlantic Council.

Russia and Iran have said they are willing to join with the US in fighting ISIS, but not at the expense of Assad, a longtime regional ally for both nations. The US continues to insist that no serious discussions on working with those two nations can occur until Assad is removed.


The focus on Assad, Hagel indicated, has clouded the situation.

“Assad was never our enemy. A brutal dictator? Yes. There are a lot of brutal dictators out there. I’m not for brutal dictators. But we should have learned from Saddam Hussein and Gadhafi, you can take a brutal dictator out but you better understand what you may get in return,” Hagel said. “Let’s get to this platform of stability.”
Our policy is incoherent.

Arguably it has been as incoherent under Obama as it was under Bush, notwithstanding their claims of having, "Don't do stupid sh%$," as a central tenet.

This is not a problem of any particular Presidential administration.  It is a problem with the commonly accepted foreign policy beliefs, a sort of Council of Foreign Relations consensus, that is dysfunctional and delusional.


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