Cheney said Hagel, a former Nebraska U.S. senator, was chosen because Obama “wants to have a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense.”

He said Obama’s plans are to allow severe cuts in U.S. defense spending, which would limit the capability of the U.S. military to respond to future foreign crises well after Obama has left office.

“He is today … establishing what limitations will be on future presidents,” Cheney said.

Cheney noted that the security situation in the Middle East and North Africa has worsened under Obama’s watch with Iran actively pursuing nuclear weapons and with turmoil in Egypt, Syria, Mali and elsewhere.

“That part of the world is as dangerous now as it has ever been,” he said.