Is White House Backing Down on Hagel?

Criticism of Former Senator's Lack of Hawkishness Fuels Speculation

Though the Obama Administration has been tight-lipped on the possibility of nominating former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R – NE) as the next Secretary of Defense, refusing to even confirm he was ever the leading candidate, unconfirmed reports suggest he may already be falling out of favor.

The reports cite an unnamed administration official saying that President Obama was looking at other candidates to avoid a battle after several senators publicly vowed that Hagel’s confirmation would be “difficult” because of his insufficiently hawkish positions.

Virtually from the moment his name was mentioned, an hysterical level of opposition has come out, centering on Hagel not being enamored with the idea of attacking Iran, and speculation that he wouldn’t be nearly the shill for Israel that someone in that position would be expected to be.

Former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy has been pushed as the primary alternative candidate, someone sufficiently uninteresting and mainstream that virtually everyone can get behind her. Today’s report came with the assumption that if Hagel is indeed being soured on it puts Flournoy into the position by default.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.