Officials: Chuck Hagel Was a ‘Gift From God’ for the Israeli USO

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Jason Reed/Reuters Admiral Ze’ev Almog, or Aluf Almog in Hebrew, speaks in a deep baritone, no-BS, command-authority voice that must have intimidated enemies and political rivals inside and outside Israel’s command structure over the past decades. He exudes confidence, authority, and a compelling patriotism for the State of Israel for which he fought in so many wars. The nearly 78-year old former Commander-in-Chief of the Israeli Navy and former head of the Israel Shipyards fought in the Suez Crisis, the…

Reading Tea Leaves of Political Appointments Not Yet Made

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Reuters Something rare just happened.  Rather than me having to dog various of the media handlers or key policy hands at the National Security Council or White House on whether Chuck Hagel is on or off the SecDef list, I just got a phone call from a senior Executive Branch person in the know who said something along the lines that the media are hyperventilating this thing into the wrong direction and that the process of considering nominees is proceeding…

Khalilzad: Hagel a Courageous Patriot Who Deserves SecDef Consideration

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Reuters/Jonathan Ernst Former George W. Bush administration US Ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan and the United Nations — as well as former National Security Council Senior Director for Southwest Asia, Near East, and North African Affairs — Zalmay Khalilzad shared with me some thoughts on the possible nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to serve as President Obama’s Secretary of Defense. Khalilzad enjoys a distinguished record in national security circles, having also served as a long time senior analyst at the RAND…

Media Alert: Talking All Things Chuck Hagel at 5:10 pm EST on MSNBC Hardball

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For those glued to news on Boxing Day, I’ll be joining TIME International Editor Jim Frederick to discuss the “borking” of various White House potential nominees on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. For those interested, here are two Washington Roundup pieces of those for and against Hagel’s potential nomination as Obama’s Secretary of Defense: first & second.  Here too is an interesting response to questions I posed to military writer and analyst Tom Ricks. Those included in the roundups beyond…

Hype? Republican Jewish Committee Makes My Point

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The article today by Tom Friedman at the New York Times, “Give Chuck a Chance,” has put a solid, revitalized wind in Chuck Hagel’s potential SecDef nomination sails. The Republican Jewish Coalition has suggested that this comment of mine is just hype: [The Friedman article] makes it clear that attempts by the neoconservative community to portray monolithic Jewish-American opposition to Chuck Hagel’s nomination just shattered. Seems to me the RJC is helping to make my point.  I don’t know if…

NSC Advisers Defend Chuck Hagel

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The letter below ran as a Letter to the Editor at the Washington Post yesterday, on 25 December.  While this letter criticizes the Washington Post for this article and defends Hagel’s character, the more interesting line I think is the one implying that the White House tolerance of pre-official nomination torture. Regarding the Dec. 21 front-page article “Vietnam scars still show in Hagel’s policies“: We strongly object, as a matter of substance and as a matter of principle, to the…

DC Roundup, Part 2: Rothkopf, Walt, Glickman, Boaz, Pillar, Fingar, Laurenti on Chuck Hagel

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Reuters As part of the roundup of perspectives on Senator Chuck Hagel’s potential nomination as Secretary of Defense, I have received the responses noted below. Here at The Atlantic is an earlier installment of views that included David Frum, Bing West, Ari Melber, Robert Dreyfuss, Hattie Babbitt, Ambassador James Hormel, Adam Garfinkle, and Leslie Gelb. This installment includes questions I posed to Foreign Policy CEO David Rothkopf, Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Fellow Dan Glickman, Century Foundation Senior Fellow Jeffrey Laurenti, Harvard…

The Night Before Christmas 107 Years Ago

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My colleague at The Atlantic Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg has posted a wonderful 107-year old film created by Edison Studios of “The Night Before Christmas.” Here is her framing of what you can watch above. Merry Christmas! — Steve Clemons

Merry Christmas White House Style

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Garance Franke-Ruta, Senior Editor and Chief of the Politics Channel at The Atlantic, and I were privileged to have this picture taken with President and Michelle Obama. It was a great evening — and the President said some great things about The Atlantic for which he has actually been a contributor. Here is his piece, titled “Perfecting our Union” in which he reflected on the lessons of Lincoln for our time. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! — Steve…