Thierry Meyssan, who was the first to predict Chuck Hagel’s possible appointment as Defense Secretary, ponders the reasons behind his dismissal. They are not to be found in Hagel’s acts, but in the President’s change of policy. Moreover, he observes, Washington no longer has a specific policy and the Obama administration is carrying out dangerously contradictory actions.
It is undeniable that the Obama administration has lost its compass in terms of determining its national security policy. In May 2013, the White House scuttled the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board without renewing it and, this week, it ditched its loyal Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. Most importantly, it keeps on delaying the release of the new national security doctrine, which it was bound by law to have submitted submitted to Congress already 7 months ago.
Whereas there are clear guidelines for long-term goals (thwarting the economic development of Russia and China) and the means to achieve them (shifting troops from Europe and the Gulf to the Far East), no one knows what the goals are in the context of the Arab world today.
It would seem that in 2010 the “Arab Spring” – long prepared by the State Department to install the Muslim Brotherhood in power everywhere in the region – took President Obama by surprise, at least partially. The same applies to the regime change orchestrated in Ukraine, in 2013.
Today, one part of the US state apparatus is combating the Islamic State, while another part is supporting its efforts to fight the Syrian Arab Republic.
Chuck Hagel, who had requested a written clarification from the President’s National Security Advisor not only did not get a response, but was fired without an explanation.
Indeed, the man failed to win over the staff at the State Department, but his judgment or the support he enjoyed from his senior officers were never in doubt. He had opposed the war in Iraq under Bush Jr and was bent on repositioning US forces around national goals instead of private ones.
His two main potential successors, Senator Jack Reed and Michele Flournoy, immediately threw in the towel, realizing that Chuck Hagel was not removed from office for committing a foul, but precisely for having applied the policy that President Obama had set. Suddenly, all eyes now turn to second fiddles Bob Work and Ash Carter. Moreover, it is not enough to be nominated; it will also be necessary to achieve ratification by the Republican majority controlling the Senate, which is sure to lead to complications.
The specialized press paints a strange portrait of the outgoing secretary. It acknowledges his honesty – a very rare quality in Washington – to better accuse him of being an underachiever. Now his role, as defined at the time of his appointment, was precisely to not start new wars, but to reform the Pentagon, which he was in the process of doing. In the first place, he broke off many ties between US forces and the IDF. Then he proceeded to implement colossal budget cuts, except in the nuclear field. During his tenure, he was incessantly attacked by pro-Israelis, neo-cons and gay organizations (funded by all the above).
The confusion surrounding the entire US policy in the Arab world dates from mid-2012. At the time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CIA director David Petraeus had seized on the US presidential election campaign to promote a second war against Syria, this time via France and Qatar. After his re-election and the ejection of his two “associates”, Obama nominated new cabinet members with the task of building peace in Syria. But after a few months, it became clear that Clinton-Petraeus policy continued without the knowledge of the White House and against the Pentagon.
Clearly, President Obama is no more his own master than was George W. Bush, and there is every reason to believe that he has gradually come to accept the secret policies of his own administration. Thus, the man who had proclaimed the end of nuclear deterrence, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and had pledged to abandon the war on terror, is in actual fact taking the opposite course: he is modernizing and expanding nuclear weapons, sending soldiers back to Afghanistan and Iraq, and launching anew the hackneyed concept of the war on terrorism.
Chuck Hagel’s dismissal is not a punishment for his actions, but an indication of the change undergone by President Barack Obama.
There is still a need to identify the forces behind Mrs. Clinton and General Petraeus’s triumph. Is it the “deep state” or economic actors? Clearly, the US press is completely at a loss: it is unable to explain what is happening or even to analyze this situation, and much less in a position to provide an answer to the question.
Ultimately, the embassies around the world are waiting for new information before drawing conclusions. Meanwhile, on the ground, the Pentagon is bombing the Islamic State to which other Americans provide weapons and funding.
In the United States as in France, presidents succeed one another without managing to influence events. Regardless of whether we refer to the Republican President Bush or the Democrat Obama, the UMP Sarkozy or the Social Democratic Holland, the machine inexorably continues its course without anyone knowing who is doing the plotting.
Thierry Meyssan is a French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.
Translation : Roger Lagassé
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.