Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says nominating Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state and former Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary would be a powerful team and give American foreign policy an edge in tackling the major challenges in the Middle East.
Hagel “has has fought for this country, he has been wounded for this country, he is a man who knows what war is like and he is a man who knows that war should be a last resort” Brzezinski said.
Critics have taken aim at the former Republican senator from Nebraska, whose name has been floated for the nomination, for his political history on Israel and liberal opinions that contrast starkly with his party and as a Washington Post editorial puts it, “would not move [the National Security Team] toward the center, which is the usual role of such opposite-party nominees.”
But Hagel’s critics have an agenda, Brzezinski said. “His critics, they would like to plunge the U.S. into some new wars, promptly, and not always for U.S. national interest.”
Kerry is widely expected to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state after attacks from the GOP forced the top contender for the position, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, to withdraw her name from consideration.
“I have a strong feeling that he and Kerry would infuse into our foreign policy what is very much needed–a sense of strategic significance, a preoccupation with the problems that we’re slowly collectively sliding into,” Brzezinski said.
He added that Hagel and Kerry would be able to work in tandem to strategically tackle the “world from North Korea all the way to Niger, that whole part of the world is sliding into turmoil.”
Clinton’s appointment as secretary was “the grand political bargain” to unite his party, “but in a way it divided foreign policy between the State Department and the White House,” he said.