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News Tip: Hagel Nomination Key to Future Dealings With Iran, Expert Says

News Tip: Hagel Nomination Key to Future Dealings With Iran, Expert Says

'My bet is Obama will win this fight, which raises the question, what will he have won?' asks political scientist Peter Feaver

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Durham, NC - President Obama on Monday nominated former Republican senator Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense.

Peter Feaver
Professor of political science and public policy, Duke University  

Feaver specializes in military and veterans' roles in domestic politics, the relationship between war, presidential rhetoric and public opinion, and the president as commander-in-chief. He served as special adviser for strategic planning and institutional reform on the National Security Council from 2005-2007. Feaver is director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies and director of the Program in American Grand Strategy. 

The following commentary is from Feaver's blog, Shadow Government (registration required):  

"President Obama's team seems to relish the confirmation battle that will ensue with Hagel's nomination. Obama is calculating that he will be able to rally enough wobbly Democrats and skeptical Republicans to overcome the strong opposition to Hagel. In the end, I think he is probably right: there is usually a strong presumption in favor of a president's nominee and Democrats will be loathe to hand the president another personnel defeat so soon after he was forced to back off nominating Ambassador Susan Rice to be secretary of state." 

"My bet is Obama will win this fight, which raises the question, 'what will he have won?' Based on the commentary surrounding the Hagel nomination issue, perhaps the answer is that Obama could win another round in the fight to stigmatize support for the Iraq war."  

"The debate over the historical meaning of Iraq matters because it has such obvious implications for the analogous challenge with Iran. Many of the pro-Hagel supporters openly acknowledge that they hope Hagel's pick signals that the President is willing to abandon the military option in dealing with Iran, for much the same reasons that they argue the option was disastrous in Iraq. President Obama has not publicly connected those dots, but I expect he will be challenged to explain whether that interpretation makes sense in the days to come."


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Contact: Steve Hartsoe

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Contact: Steve Hartsoe