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Hagel’s First Address: Light on Crises, Heavy on Restructuring

"If we refuse to lead, something, someone will fill the vacuum. The next great power may not use its power as responsibly."

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

April 3, 2013 - 6:43 pm
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Hagel wrapped up with his thoughts on America’s role in the world, a subject stirring memories of his rocky confirmation hearing.

“If we refuse to lead, something, someone will fill the vacuum. The next great power may not use its power as responsibly or judiciously as America has used its power over the decades since World War II,” he said. “We have made mistakes and miscalculations with our great power. But as history has advanced, America has helped making a better world for all people with its power. A world where America does not lead is not the world I wish my children to inherit.”

Promising to take a few questions if they weren’t “too tough” — “and even if a general asks a question, I’ll answer it” — Hagel fielded concerns about furloughs and China before a Defense Intelligence Agency employee asked him about recent reported comments from the Defense secretary on North Korea and nuclear capability.

Hagel quipped that press secretary Little chided him to “keep your answers short” and “deny like hell.”

“As I said in a news conference, I guess, last week when asked about this, it only takes being wrong once. And I don’t want to be the secretary of defense who was wrong once,” he said. “So we will continue to take these threats seriously. I hope the North will ratchet this very dangerous rhetoric down. There is a pathway that’s responsible for the North to get on a path to peace, working with their neighbors. There are many, many benefits to their people that could come. But they’ve got to be a responsible member of the world community. And you don’t achieve that responsibility and peace and prosperity by making nuclear threats and taking very provocative actions.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said Hagel, “like many of his predecessors, has laid out a bold agenda for reform.”

“As encouraging as many of the secretary’s remarks are, the fact that he is being driven to consider dramatic reform not because of strategic threats but because of an irrational budgetary environment remains troubling. The Armed Services Committee will do what it can to prevent the Pentagon from making ill-considered short-term cuts at the expense of long-term strategic need,” McKeon said. ”We cannot allow inadequate budgets to drive unacceptable strategies.”

En route to Denver today for President Obama’s gun-control rally, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that despite a new ruler in Pyongyang, North Korea’s behavior “represents a familiar pattern, and as I think we’ve seen over the past several administrations.”

“North Korea knows the path that’s available to it — the regime does — and that is a path towards greater integration in the international community, stronger economic development, and better prospects for the North Korean people if they take substantive steps towards denuclearization and abide by the series of international obligations that they are currently flouting,” Carney said.

Over at the State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called North Korea freezing entry to the border industrial zone from South Korea “a regrettable move.”

“It says to us that despite the international community’s open door to choose a different path, which we have had open for a long, long time now, the Korean leadership is choosing to violate its international obligations and to flout international law rather than to feed and help and improve the lives of their own people,” Nuland said.

The Korean Central News Agency, the mouthpiece for Kim Jong-un’s regime, reported today on “the final decision of justice prompted by the matchless grit of the brilliant commander of Mt. Paektu to put a definite end to the long-standing history of showdown with the U.S. imperialists and blow up the dens of evils.”

“The grudge of the Korean people at the U.S., the sworn enemy, is running high and their patience has gone beyond limitation,” the article continued. “All the service personnel and people of the DPRK have waited for the time of a final battle for national reunification, pledging revenge on the U.S. for over half a century. They are waiting for the final order of Kim Jong Un, keeping themselves on high alert.”

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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“North Korea knows the path that’s available to it — the regime does — and that is a path towards greater integration in the international community, stronger economic development, and better prospects for the North Korean people if they take substantive steps towards denuclearization and abide by the series of international obligations that they are currently flouting,” Carney said.

Carney is so full of manure ... so is Hagel. SAI (Same As Iran), rhetoric supporting the international commies in the WH is easy; but when the SHTF the politics must go. The comment, “The United States military remains an essential tool of American power, but one that must be used judiciously, with a keen appreciation of its limits." is a jab at Bush, implying recklessness in wielding power - blaming Bush for the wars of the past 10 years and thereby totally whitewashing any responsibility for current events due to Obama's foreign policy debacles. Hagel is simply making sure that Obama is NOT responsible for ANYTHING. Obama even campaigns against the things that he's implemented and supported, so as to create an impression that he is NOT responsible for the outcomes of those disastrous decisions. That been Obama's MO all along - drive by politics. Hagel is simply doing what Obama does - covering for the administrations disastrous foreign policy decisions. Proof? Here's one example: Iran and NoKo's launching pad were designed by the same guy that designed Pakistan's nuclear hardwear. Iran and NoKo are twins ... and not once did Hagel even mention the connection between Iran, NoKo and Pakistan. Did anyone consider Russia in all this? NoKo ramping up the nuclear threat simply means that other more sinister enterprises are provided with some cover ... Russia has its own little nuclear developments carefully hidden in places where even our intelligence officials have neglected to look. Putin is sucking up to the West ... and that's a sure sign of some nefarious activity on his part. The next POTUS must NOT play politics with the lives of 300 million people. Enough is enough!!!!!!!!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
is a jab at Bush, implying recklessness in wielding power - blaming Bush for the wars of the past 10 years and thereby totally whitewashing any responsibility for current events due to Obama's foreign policy debacles."

Look down towards the bottom for a timeline chart that was being referenced.

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/war-powers.php


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"“The United States military remains an essential tool of American power, but one that must be used judiciously, with a keen appreciation of its limits. Most of the pressing security challenges today have important political, economic, and cultural components and do not necessarily lend themselves to being resolved by conventional military strength,”

The single most important comment into Hagel's vision of using our miitary assests around the world -- within appreciation of its limits! What limit could he be taking about? War Powers vs. War Powers resolution? I think so and with constitutional just cause. If not, it should be!

Since 1973 and the War Powers Resolution Act, the president AND the congress have routinely abused and ignored the constitutional 'cause (trigger)and constraints (60-day rule)' of the authority. Under the guise of nation-building the Department of States 'manipulates' war and military conflict authority around the world. Is that really the constitutional intent for our military? Is the War Powers Resolution (Act) actually constitional -- especially when its not enforced to the letter?

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/war-powers.php

Then consider the use of the SEALS and Delta Force, et al, in operations around the world that are never unclassified. Consider the expansion of military use in Lybia and now in North Africa today. Are we a nation under our own constitution or a nation under the authority of the UN? Should the State Department be utilizing our military in the name of nation-building and thus, driving the authority for the uses of our military in foreign nations?

I'm hopeful Hagel will force these discussions into the public arena with the hopes of returning our military asses back the the constitutional intent of 'defending' our 'homeland' sovereignty.
1 year ago
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