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The Return of Hagel? (II)

Josh Rogin reports on the one thing that might anger Republican hawks more than Susan Rice:

Former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is being vetted for a possible top national security post in the Obama administration, multiple sources told The Cable.

Hagel, who co-chairs President Barack Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which provides independent advice on the effectiveness of the intelligence community, could be in contention for either secretary of state or secretary of defense, people familiar with the vetting process say.

It seems to me that he would be a better choice and a more natural fit as Defense Secretary, but he would be a reasonably good choice for either position. Hagel would certainly be better qualified for the top post at State than Susan Rice, and I assume he would be confirmed much more easily. At the same time, his appointment would likely infuriate the most hawkish interventionists, and that doesn’t hurt. I have never been a Hagel fan, and I wouldn’t try to read too much into his appointment in terms of what it might tell us about Obama’s second term foreign policy, but having Hagel in either role would be better than the likely alternatives.

As Rogin notes, Hagel’s vetting doesn’t mean that he will definitely be chosen:

The fact that Hagel is being vetted does not ensure that he will be nominated for any job, but it adds his name to a short list of those being considered for top-level national security positions.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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