Hagel’s Anti-Swagger Campaign


In the last few days, I have posted a lot about Senator Chuck Hagel and his effort to galvanize opinion against reckless, shoot-from-the-hip comments made by President Bush and others about Iran and other foreign policy problems.
Tonight, Hagel will appear on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.” This is from a Bloomberg release:

In an interview that airs tonight on the BLOOMBERG TELEVISION(R) network, Chuck Hagel, Senior Republican Senator and member of the Foreign Relations Committee, tells Al Hunt that presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton are “recklessly irresponsible” and acting like “cowboys” in criticizing rival candidate Barack Obama’s call for direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program.
When world leaders “hearing leading presidential candidates talk like cowboys with the lowest common denominator being I can be tougher than you, I’ll go to war before you or we aren’t going to talk to anybody, that’s
recklessly irresponsible,” Hagel tells Bloomberg’s Hunt.
The interview with Hagel will air tonight at 10 pm ET on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” program. “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airs every Friday at 10pm ET and is repeated throughout the day Saturday and Sunday.

I’m sharing this news about Hagel’s campaign against ‘swagger’ in tribute to SusanUnPC of No Quarter who mentioned she giggles every time I mention Hagel.
— Steve Clemons


13 comments on “Hagel’s Anti-Swagger Campaign

  1. Susan H says:

    Oh gawd, Steve. I never dreamed you’d read my little note. It is true … well, I sure smile every time I see you mention Hagel. I find him dreadful on domestic policy (therefore I wouldn’t want him as a presidential candidate), but I do agree with you heartily — and salute you — for highlighting his superb insights into foreign policy. KEEP THEM COMING.
    Here’s another take on foreign policy that you may want to consider. Well, knowing you, you’re already aware of this new report on “soft power,” and I’d be fascinated in reading your take on it.
    “… former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Harvard professor Joseph Nye of the Center for Strategic International Studies Commission on Soft Power …”
    (Please don’t tell Charlie Rose I ripped off his entire transcript that he charges, what, $15 for?)


  2. Susan H says:

    Oh gawd, Steve. I never dreamed you’d read my little note. It is true … well, I sure smile every time I see you mention Hagel. I find him dreadful on domestic policy (therefore I wouldn’t want him as a presidential candidate), but I do agree with you heartily — and salute you — for highlighting his superb insights into foreign policy. KEEP THEM COMING.
    Here’s another take on foreign policy that you may want to consider. Well, knowing you, you already know about this new report on “soft power”:
    “… former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Harvard professor Joseph Nye of the Center for Strategic International Studies Commission on Soft Power …”
    (Please don’t tell Charlie Rose I ripped off his entire transcript that he charges, what, $15 for?)


  3. Kathleen says:

    Meant to post this with lasat comment.
    Iraqi Government to UN:
    ‘Don’t Extend Mandate for Bush’s Occupation’
    By Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar
    11/09/07 “AlterNet” — – The United Nations Security Council, with support from the British and American delegations, is poised to cut the Iraqi parliament out of one of the most significant decisions the young government will make: when foreign troops will depart. It’s an ugly and unconstitutional move, designed solely to avoid asking an Iraqi legislature for a blank check for an endless military occupation that it’s in no mood to give, and it will make a mockery of Iraq’s nascent democracy (which needs all the legitimacy it can get).
    While the Bush administration frequently invokes sunny visions of spreading democracy and “freedom” around the world, the fact remains that democracy is incompatible with its goals in Iraq. The fact remains that the biggest headache supporters of the occupation of Iraq have to deal with is the fact of the occupation itself. As far back as the middle of 2004, more than nine out of 10 Iraqis said the U.S.-led forces were “occupiers,” and only 2 percent called them “liberators.” Things have only gone downhill since then, and any government that represents the will of the Iraqi people would have no choice but to demand a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops. This fact poses an enormous problem, as the great triumph of the Bush administration and its supporters has been in their ability to convince a much of the Americans population that Iraqi interests and Washington’s interests are in harmony, even when they’re diametrically opposed.
    Crucial to this fiction is a U.N. mandate that confers legal cover on the so-called “multinational” forces in Iraq. The mandate is now coming up for renewal, and a majority of Iraqi legislators oppose its renewal unless conditions are placed on it, conditions that may include a demand for a timetable for the departure of American troops.
    The process of renewing the mandate is highlighting the political rift that’s divided the country and fueled most of the violence that’s plagued the new state. That’s the rift between nationalists — those Iraqis who, like most of their countrymen, oppose the presence of foreign troops on the ground, the wholesale privatization of Iraq’s natural resources and the division of their country into ethnic and sectarian fiefdoms, and Iraqi separatists who at least tolerate the occupation — if not support it — and favor a loose sectarian/ethnic-based federation of semiautonomous states held together by a minimal central government in Baghdad.
    In the United States, the commercial media has largely ignored this story, focusing almost exclusively on sectarian violence and doing a poor job giving their readers and viewers a sense of what’s driving Iraq’s political crisis. An understanding of the tensions between nationalists and separatists is necessary to appreciate the import of the parliament being cut out of the legislative process and the degree to which doing so hurts the prospect of real political reconciliation among Iraq’s many political factions. (We’ve discussed this dynamic in greater detail in an earlier article.)
    The key ingredient to understand is this: The Iraqi executive branch — the cabinet and the presidency — are completely controlled by separatists (including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and secular politicians). But the parliament is controlled by nationalists — nationalists from every major ethnic and sectarian group in the country — who enjoy a small but crucially important majority in the only elected body in the Iraqi government.
    In 2006, Maliki’s office requested the renewal of the U.N. mandate without consulting the legislature, a process that many lawmakers maintained was a violation of Iraqi law. The problem was that Maliki didn’t have the authority to make the request under the Iraqi constitution. Article 58, Section 4 says that the Council of Representatives (the parliament) has to ratify “international treaties and agreements” negotiated by the Council of Ministers (the cabinet). Specifically, it reads: “A law shall regulate the ratification of international treaties and agreements by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council of Representatives.”
    Prime Minister Maliki had claimed that the constitution didn’t refer to the U.N. mandate. A senior Iraqi lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the assertion: “If we are asked to approve a trade agreement concerning olive oil, should we not have the right to pass on an agreement concerning the stationing of foreign military forces in our national soil?”
    In June, we reported that the parliament had passed a binding resolution that would force Maliki to go to the parliament and give Iraqi lawmakers an opportunity to block the extension of the mandate. It was signed by the majority of the 275-seat legislature, then sent to the president. According to the Iraqi constitution, the president has 15 days to veto it by sending it back to the parliament; otherwise it automatically becomes a ratified law. The 15 days passed without a veto, so, according to the terms of the constitution, the Iraqi parliament’s resolution became a law in mid-June 2007.
    Something happened, however, between the passage of that law and the latest report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. According to Moon’s latest report to the Security Council (PDF), dated Oct. 15, the law that had been passed by the duly elected legislature of Iraq became nothing more than a “nonbinding resolution”:
    The Council of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution on 5 June obligating the cabinet to request parliament’s approval on future extensions of the mandate governing the multinational force in Iraq and to include a timetable for the departure of the force from Iraq.
    One might have believed that the disconnect was a simple mistake, if not for the fact that members of the Iraqi parliament, still fuming over being cut out of the process the year before, sent a letter to the U.N.’s special envoy for Iraq back in April clarifying the situation in very clear terms. According to an English translation provide by the Global Policy Forum, it says: “The Iraqi Cabinet has unilaterally requested a renewal of the U.N. mandate keeping the occupation troops (MNF) in Iraq” despite the fact that “such a request issued by the Iraqi cabinet without the Iraqi parliament’s approval is unconstitutional.” It continues: “The Iraqi parliament, as the elected representatives of the Iraqi people, has the exclusive right to approve and ratify international treaties and agreements, including those signed with the United Nations Security Council.”
    According to sources within the Iraqi delegation to the United Nations, the letter, signed by 144 MPs –more than half of Iraq’s legislators — was received in good order by the special envoy, Ashraf Qazi, but never distributed to the Security Council members, as is required under the U.N. resolution that governs the mandate. The parliament, and indeed the majority of the Iraqi population, had been cleanly excised from the legislative process.
    The important thing to understand is that the run-around goes beyond the issue of the mandate itself. Iraq is not in the midst of an incomprehensible religious war over some obscure theological differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims but is deeply and profoundly divided over fundamental questions about the future of the country. In cutting the nationalist majority in the parliament out of the process of governing, the Maliki administration, Bush administration and, apparently, the U.N. secretary-general are making political reconciliation much more difficult. History has offered the lesson time and time again: Deny people the right to participate in deciding their own destiny in a peaceful political process, and they’ll try to do so with guns and bombs. The United Nations, like the administration and its supporters, and like Sen. Joe Biden and those who favor his plan for partitioning the country, is taking sides in a political battle that should be exclusively for Iraqis to decide.
    If there were some similarities between the current Iraqi-Iraqi conflict and the U.S. civil war it is in having one side that wants to keep the country united, and another side planning to secede. All of the foreign forces that are intervening in Iraq’s affairs — whether led by the United States, Iran or Al-Qaeda — are on the side of a minority of Iraqis who want to secede against the majority’s will.
    This U.N. mandate issue is not occurring in a vacuum. When it comes to the nascent Iraqi government, supporters of the occupation have long had their cake and eaten it too. On the one hand, they deny that the U.S.-led military force is an occupying army at all, maintaining that all those foreign troops are there at the “request” of the Iraqi government. That’s an important legal nicety — occupying forces have a host of responsibilities under international law and acknowledging the reality of the occupation would result in more legal responsibilities for the administration to ignore. At the same time, when the only people who all those purple-fingered Iraqi voters actually elected to office try to attach some conditions to the U.N. mandate, demand a timetable for withdrawal or come out against privatizing Iraq’s natural resources, and then somehow magically disappear, their hopes and aspirations are discarded as if they never existed.
    It’s time to force the issue: The Iraqi parliament, the only body elected by the Iraqi people, wants some say over the continuing presence of foreign troops on its soil, and a majority of its lawmakers, like a majority of both Americans and Iraqis, wants a timetable for ending the occupation.
    Joshua Holland is an AlterNet staff writer. Raed Jarrar is Iraq consultant to the American Friends Service Committee. He blogs at Raed in the Middle.


  4. Kathleen says:

    Recklessly irresponsible can also be said of every Senator who supported the recent Iran resolution because it evades Congress’ duty to be the body which declares war, in the abscence of an immintent threat. A sense of the Senate resolutiuon is an underhanded tacit apporoval for the use of force if the Executive can come up with a credible threat, whihc is not quite the same as imminent.
    In the meantime, perhaps Senator Hagel would like to finish up with Iraq by supoprting the Iraqi Parliament’s request to decide whether or not to extend UN Security Council authorization for Multinnational Forces to remain In Iraq, due to expire in December. Senator hagel should call for supporting the Iraqi Parliament’s request to decide the issue. It’s the democratic thing to do.
    We should have an online petition to the UN Security Council, supporting the Iraqi Parliament’s request for a vote on the extensiuon of authorization for foreigntroops to remain in Iraq. Otherwise it’s all a sheer farce.


  5. DonS says:

    On Mukasey, Reid no doubt had a hand in the timing, but it is my understanding that a “unanimous consent decree” before the vote had already meant that there would be no filibuster . In other words, the dems, had already sold out and the four “candidtates” would again fail to show leadership. Reid’s specific trade with the thugs on the vote timing might seem like a convenient tar baby, but it was meaningless because the dems had already decided not to fight. Many of their votes “against” Mukasey were mere window dressing because they knew there would be no filibuster (even if it theoretically looked like the votes were there for that).
    Its the new congressional tactic you know: you pretend to have a conscience and I’ll pretend to have one.
    Sorry for continuing a little OT. My video card wont let me view Steve’s debate, so I’ll have to crank up the laptop.


  6. Chuck Dupree says:

    First off, “Joe Klein’s conscience” is obviously a pseudonym. Everyone knows there’s no such thing.
    I agree with Steve and with george that Hagel is an honorable person. I disagree with nearly all his domestic-policy positions, and most of his foreign-policy ones as well, but I’d be happy to have him as SecDef in an Edwards/Obama administration, with Kucinich as SecPeace, Richardson at State, Krugman at Treasury…


  7. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    You can blame Harry Reid for that.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Democratic Candidates are No-Shows for Mukasey Vote
    Written by Chris Floyd
    Friday, 09 November 2007
    Here are a few profiles in courage for you.
    On the nomination of Michael Mukasey to be Attorney General of the United States:
    Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY: did not vote.
    Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill: did not vote.
    Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn: did not vote.
    Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del: did not vote.
    There you have it. The only four Democratic senators who did not vote on the nomination of Mukasey – and the legitimization of torture and presidential tyranny it represents – were the four Democratic senators seeking the presidency.
    Draw your own conclusions on the implications of these absences, and what they portend for the possibilities of genuine reform should any of these worthy paladins win the White House.


  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Amazing, you mean Hagel is actually correctly criticizing someone before it is two years after the fact?


  10. konopelli/wgg says:

    Nobody who even hints that they might foreswear reflexive violence in pursuit of threats or threateners to Murricun safety can or will be taken seriously by designated guardians of the public weal.


  11. Steve Clemons says:

    kwo — good point. i think people have forgotten that Obama statement. best, steve


  12. george says:

    Thanks again for the continued coverage of Senator Hagel and his leadership. As a registered democrat, I cannot say that I agree with all of his domestic views. On foreign policy there is nobody better to be the next VP or Secretary of State than Senator Hagel. It will go a long way to healing the Red’s and the Blue’s in this country and our image abroad. True bipartisan leaders working together instead of at each other’s throats. A Obama-Hagel ticket…I like it already…


  13. kwo says:

    I think I’m missing something. Wasn’t it Obama that declared he’d unilaterally invade Pakistan to get OBL? Why does Hagel focus on Clinton and Giuliani even as Obama appears just as (if not more) cowboy-ish?


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