Up | February 03, 2013
>>> was basically chuck hagel supporting the president's policy on iran containment. after he says that, he goes, by the way, i just have been handed the note. i meant to say obviously his position on containment. we don't have a position on containment, so i recognize i had more attention paid to my words the last eight weeks than i ever thought possible. what i thought was interesting here is containment was the framework for 50 years of american foreign policy and the cold war .
>> containment is our policy on iran . we've been containing iran . that's exactly what we've been doing and it's exactly what we would do if they got nuclear weapons . hagel has been consistent. since 2001 , he has advocated direct talks with iran . the thing that distinguishes him is he's somebody who likes to listen. he likes to ask questions. i had a trip to iran in december 2001 . i was asked to come in and brief him on this trip. it was a snowstorm in washington, d.c. congress was essentially shut down. i went through the snow. there he was and he asked me questions for an hour about things i hadn't been able to put in stories that i had written on my trip to iran . he's somebody who really cares and he thinks about things before he opens his mouth and makes judgments. so i think it was sad to see how he had to back pedal.
>> and he had to back pedal on these really, really important issues.
>> that's a self-criticism aspect.
>> it was more like a public shaming. but it was republican purge, basically. no offense or anything. it was actually very, very malice.
>> stalin. stalin on the --
>> it was just like --
>> not a literal comparison for the literalists watching at home. continue.
>> it's amazing that this whole -- this is like the beltway discourse. you may want say all options are on the table with iran , except for containment. the thing that worked with the soviet union was its thousands of nuclear weapons . except that one policy.
>> and that's what i mean by this rhetorical shift.
>> and, again, i don't have much stake personally in my own idealogical perspective in american bipartisan realism. i don't have a dog in that place except for the fact that it's being replaced by something far more aggressive, right? if containment used to be the thing we all agreed on and now containment is some sort of crazy taboo. what does that mean about how things are moved?
>> we saw it shift. when obama came into office in 2008 , there was this hope about it was going to move into the iranians. and then it keeps moving to he supports alaworth. that's necessary. you've had this reto havical shift. it's been a shift that's been driven by guys like mccain and lindsay graham and the voices within the republican party and these democratic caucus who go along with it and by the end of the day saying i want to have talk wes iran is a controversial statement.
>> are there people in the republican foreign policy class of which you remember?
>> in this strategic class, are there people -- is there some share of those people who share hagel's views, who are fine with a policy of containment on iran , who think there should be more demroemsy?
>> john huntsman.
>> absolutely. and i think we saw that in the romney campaign and in terms of his foreign policy advisers. many of them, brionski --
>> absolutely. who would --
>> and these are people who have worked with democrats, republicans, they have worked on soft power issues, on hard power issues, and they're the emerging leadership.
>> john bolton and dan at this no were the biggest voices in the campaign.
>> they were seen in the "new york times" by the top foreign policy adviser. and i kind of agree with you that he went back and forth a little bit on those issues.
>> look at what actually the candidate did himself, look what he stated, how he performed in the time debate, the republican debate on foreign policy in boca raton . but i actually just want to bring up a point that --
>> i think he shows that there was common ground that he was willing to even emphasize himself. for example, on libya. but i want to speak to this issue about a kind of rhetorical shift. i actually think there's more rhetorical confusion. and the confusion belies the fact that we don't have a grand strategy in the united states on how we deal with the range of threats we're facing. and when i talk about consensus, i don't mean that you vote down the line in the house and the senate on a particular foreign policy issue. but that there's a common understanding of what the threats are. and i think this is a problem for democrats, republicans, for all americans. and that is what is going on and that's what we saw in this hearing is that there's not a common language even are we in the global war on terror , we jetson that term used by the obama -- i mean by the bush administration when president obama was in office. i think we're having some fundamental problems about the threat.
>> i want to hold it for a second because i want to turn to why -- should i support chuck hagel ? what is my investment after his performance in this which i thought was pretty desiplatory. i want to hear an affirmative case on why the guy should be running the pentagon which i didn't hear in a nine-hour hearing.