Oh Hagel

Obama's Hawk-Free 2nd Term FP

02.05.13 2:45 PM ET

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Bret Stephens worries a Hagel led defense department won't be able to handle sequestration, won't scare tyrants and dictators, and will be too nice to Iran. Not unfair concerns. That said, too little, too late. A filibuster won't happen, and Hagel is our next Secretary of Defense.

One is a cabinet without a single hawk or even semi-hawk, whereas only a year ago there were three: Leon Panetta, David Petraeus and even Hillary Clinton. Another is a secretary of defense with an unsteady grasp of a department that may, within a month, be facing a historic and blunt reduction in its budgets. A third is a vice president who has just agreed to yet another round of negotiations with Tehran. And finally there's a president whose second inaugural address was entirely devoted to calling America home for the collective tasks he believes lie ahead.

Ask yourself how Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei and Bashar Assad are likely to feel about all of that. Shouldn't America have at least one officer of cabinet rank who scares the daylights out of these people?