November 24, 2014

Chuck Hagel’s Out!

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

Controversial (because he wasn’t neocon enough) Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who only got this position last year is resigning (which is Washingtonian speak for getting the axe), according to the New York Times, which reports:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation on Monday, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team to respond to an onslaught of global crises.

This has everything to do with the new GOP majority; as the war drums will soon be beating for increased presence in Iraq, Syria, and even, Iran.  Hagel, not at all a non-interventionist of the libertarian/constitutional stripe but is in any case not one to simply toe the neocon neo-wilsonian line, was opposed with all the GOP’s guns last year, as they realized that with Hagel in office the Neocon globalist vision would slow.  Obama has not done much to rollback the Neocon “progress” that was made during the Bush administration, and in fact, he has mostly gone along with it.  But that is not good enough for the Neocons who want to expand the American Empire at ever quicker speeds.

During the build up to the Hagel nomination last year, Justin Raimondo wrote:

If we allowed the soldiers in the field to vote on who should be the next Secretary of Defense, President Obama’s first choice, former Republican senator Chuck Hagel — a Vietnam veteran and the recipient of two Purple Hearts, whose work at the Veterans Administration during the Reagan years endeared him to vets — would win hands down. In Washington, however, as the Washington Post averred, he’s outside the “mainstream,” a “fringe” character who’s well to the “left” of our bipartisan let’s-go-to-war-at-the-drop-of-a-hat “consensus.”

It’s a sad commentary on the Washingtonian mindset that a foreign policy “realist” like Hagel is considered the 21st century equivalent of Abbie Hoffman, but these people live in a bubble where the outdated “left-right” paradigm still dictates our political choices. Yet the majority of Republicans out in the country support Hagel’s basic position — caution, retrenchment, paring down the Pentagon — the very stances Hagel is being pilloried for by the likes of Lindsey Graham.

That Washington is America’s Bizarro World was vividly dramatized when Sen. Dan Coates attacked Hagel for — wait for it — being “disrespectful of the military“! What this can  mean when applied to a two-time winner of the Purple Heart, a Vietnam vet who was severely wounded in action and spent his entire time at the VA fighting for vets, is beyond me — but, then again, I don’t live inside the Beltway.

Well the GOP is back in Congressional power and the ground work is being set for another round of foreign interventions; which is explicitly imperious, showing once again how unconstitutional the GOP establishment really is, despite all their marketing to the contrary.  It is astounding that immediately after the midterms, the conservative base went wild with delight that the GOP had ousted the “Democrat bums,” and yet, a month later and we are already seeing signs of an immediate reaffirmation of the GOP’s neocon influence.  The Tea Party itself, which arose during the Bush administration as a protest to Bushian fake conservatism, has not issued one peep about any of these dangers of forgetting just how bad and anti-liberty the Bush years were. The Tea Party was of course inspired by Ron Paul as a non-partisan conservative coalition to oppose the Republicans but has since gotten cozy with the Republicans.  What’s the point of populism if it sticks to the establishment’s ways?

In any case, Hagel’s so-called “resignation,” which is really a bunch of political pressure, is a sign of what’s to come. No, Hagel, was not in any sense the libertarian non-interventionist in the flavor of Ron Paul, or even the paleo-conservative traditional realist flavor of Pat Buchanan and the American Conservative Magazine folks.  But he wasn’t a neocon.  But now he is gone.  And in need of replacement. With War Hawk and Democratic Neoconservative Hillary Clinton (for those who don’t know, yes, there are Democrats who are heavily neocon influenced as well) gearing up for a possible run –and with the exception of Marxist populist Elizabeth Warren, she is really the only viable candidate– Hagel’s replacement will no doubt be someone with a neocon tendency. Or at least someone they can trust.  And it is a signal that trouble on the international front awaits.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com