Chuck Hagel

It is official: President Barack Obama will announce the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense on Monday afternoon. In making his choice, the president has fulfilled the worst expectations of his foreign policy critics, while delighting anti-war activists and the anti-Israel left.

The Hagel nomination represents the return of the radical Barack Obama, hitherto hidden under an opportunistic anti-terror persona.

There is, as Bill Kristol observed last week, “no case for Hagel.” His supporters cannot cite any substantive reason he should be Secretary of Defense; instead, they argue that “Hagel must be appointed in order to spite many of his critics.” Peter Beinart of the Daily Beast confirms that assessment with his weak defense of Hagel this morning: he must be appointed, Beinart argues, to destroy “the Republican foreign policy establishment.”

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