Tags: Barack Obama | ISIS/Islamic State | Chuck Hagel steps down

Analysis: Obama 'Neutered' Hagel's Ability to Shape Foreign Policy

By    |   Monday, 24 Nov 2014 11:50 AM

Military policy failures and bureaucratic issues forced Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel out of office because during the past two years he has not succeeded at either task, an analysis piece about Monday's announcement says.

Hagel has come under criticism for his decisions on the military conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, Ukraine, and Egypt, reports Vox.com.

The Vox analysis, though, says all the issues aren't Hagel's problem, because Obama himself excludes agencies such as the Pentagon and the State Department while setting foreign policy himself.

"That policy has largely failed (look at the struggling efforts with ISIS and Russia's Ukraine invasion), and now Obama appears to be pinning the failure on Hagel — which is not going to fix the problem, given that Obama had already neutered Hagel's ability to set and shape foreign policy," writes Vox's Max Fisher.

The outgoing Cabinet member has also had trouble  breaking through the White House's foreign policy team, and is the first senior Obama adviser to leave the administration following the sweeping losses for Democrats in the midterm elections.

Hagel has not been able to push the Taliban in Afghanistan to come to a peace agreement, and as a result the terror organization is ignoring the efforts of U.S. negotiating teams, the Vox.com report says.

In addition, Hagel took a lead role to try to convince Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fatah el-Sisi not to depose the nation's president in a coup, but the overthrow happened.

Hagel has not been able to come up with a plan to slow or stop the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, and has not yet committed to an effort to slow Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the Vox piece claims.

However, his bureaucratic issues may be more at fault, as he has not been well-regarded as a representative who advocated for the military.

"Hagel has often had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner," reports The New York Times.

Hagel was the only Republican on Obama's national security team, and the president finally asked him to step down on Friday after several meetings over the past few weeks, the Times reports.

Officials told the Times that Obama decided to remove Hagel because his skills are different than those needed to bring the Islamic State under control. The Vietnam veteran, who was openly skeptical about the war in Iraq, was hired to manage the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and to deal with sequestration cuts to the Pentagon's budget.

The administration insists that Hagel was not fired, but the decision was made mutually between he and Obama.

There has been some speculation that Obama would release other policy leaders after the midterm elections, with National Security Adviser Susan Rice's name being mentioned along with others who work within the White House.

Some names are already being mentioned for Hagel's replacement, with former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy topping the list, reports The Times. Other names include Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Jack Reed, a former Army 82nd Airborne division officer, and former deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

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Military policy failures and bureaucratic issues forced Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel out of office because during the past two years he has not succeeded at either task, an analysis piece about Monday's announcement says.
Chuck Hagel steps down
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2014-50-24
Monday, 24 Nov 2014 11:50 AM
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