That may well be, but the guy has some very naive ideas about foreign policy. Just this past weekend, he published a column in the Washington Post trumpeting how wonderful it was that Iran and Syria were meeting together with Iraqi leaders.
This is the most encouraging set of actions for the Middle East in years.It takes someone with the optimism of a Woodrow Wilson to think that Iran and Syria have suddenly become leaers for peace.
Here's another sign of Hagel's naiveté. Ignatius quotes a speech from early in our involvement in Iraq.
He urged the Bush administration to transfer postwar oversight to the United Nations as soon as possible, and he admonished Iraq boosters to "put aside the mistaken delusion that democracy is just around the corner."If one criticism of Bush is that misestimated the readiness of Iraq for democracy, I don't know how anyone could seriously argue that the United Nations would have done a better job of running Iraq after the fall of Saddam. When has the UN ever shown an ability to keep peace and build a democracy in a harsh environment? Without a true military presence (which the UN has never had unless the United States is that presence) does Hagel or Ignatius imagine that the same murderous forces would not have emerged in Iraq? Or do they suppose that the U.S. would have been more successful in Iraq if they were under UN control? Is that the same UN that is allowing Hezbollah to rearm in Lebanon? Or doing nothing in Darfur? Or that stood by in Rwanda? Or has done nothing to keep the peace in the Middle East ever? If this is an example of Hagel's brilliant grasp of foreign policy, I'll take Door Number Two and hope for someone lacking such brilliance.
David Ignatius has had an inexplicable jones for Hagel for a while. In April he was pushing for Hagel as a replacement for Rumsfeld. It wasn't going to happen then and Hagel isn't going to be the Republican nominee in 2008. If Hagel truly thinks he has a chance in the primaries, he is even more delusional about that than about the possibility that Iran and Syria are forces for peace that we can work with to improve the situation in Iraq.