A recent Pew Poll showing record opposition to foreign military intervention among Americans won’t amount to any actual policy changes, according to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
In comments seen as a direct challenge to public sentiment that the US should “mind its own business internationally,” Hagel insisted that the US will continue its military involvement globally, and has a “commitment” to overseas entanglements.
“Last week we entered our thirteenth year of combat in Afghanistan,” Hagel noted, adding that the US has continued to have a “steady state of presence in the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere.”
Hagel’s comments were made as he heads for Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and focused on promises of US military support for those nations with respect to “shared security challenges in the region, including Iran and Syria.”
The mention of Iran suggests that Hagel will attempt to placate those nations, part of Saudi Arabia’s sphere of influence, about the P5+1 deal with Iran, which would seem to eliminate any chance of a US attack on Iran, but which the Pentagon insists isn’t going to change its military deployments in the Persian Gulf, which for decades have centered on the idea of the US attacking Iran at some point.
Between public opposition, budget shortfalls and a sudden outbreak of diplomatic rapprochement, there are plenty of good reasons for the United States to move away from a policy of interventionist adventures, but Hagel’s comments show that the status quo retains considerable allure for the administration, and will not be abandoned easily.