The bottom line: The United States must get out of these massive land wars — Iraq and Afghanistan — and, if possible, avoid future large-scale war.
Although much discussion of the Hagel nomination has centered on his attitudes about Iran, Israel and the defense budget, Hagel’s broader agreement with Obama on overall philosophy is probably more consequential.
Hagel has also said he believes it is important that a defense secretary should not dictate foreign policy and that policy should be made in the White House.
He privately voiced reservations about Obama’s decision in late 2009 to add 51,000 troops to Afghanistan. “The president has not had commander-in-chief control of the Pentagon since Bush senior was president,” Hagel said privately in 2011.
If Hagel is confirmed, as appears likely, he and the president will have a large task in navigating this new world order. Avoiding war is tied directly to the credibility of the threat to go to war.