Hagel’s nomination engendered bitter, angry opposition from the moment it was floated as a trial balloon. And the fact that Obama went ahead with the nomination is a good indication that on at least some critical foreign policy issues, Obama is not prepared to allow either the pro-Israeli lobbies or the hard-core neoconservatives, in and outside of Washington, to determine whom he could and could not choose as Secretary of Defense.
The threat of a reckless, dangerous, and illegal US or US-led assault on Syria is looking closer than ever. However any attack will not protect civilians—it will mean taking sides once again in a bloody, complicated civil war.
Whether or not the day’s events in Egypt constitute a military coup d’etat, the removal from office of President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian military portends great excitement but even greater dangers.