Can Hagel really be as naive as he sounds talking about Iran’s motives in helping us out in Afghanistan? They had a wounded superpower fielding the world’s greatest military right next door and a president with an approval rating in the 80s talking about remaking the Middle East by force. The only failed state they were worried about at the time was their own. Plus, remember this? The lefties bludgeoned Bush with it this summer, not entirely unjustifiably:

Just after the lightning takeover of Baghdad by U.S. forces three years ago, an unusual two-page document spewed out of a fax machine at the Near East bureau of the State Department. It was a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table — including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups…

But top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative…

Trita Parsi, a Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, … said the U.S. victory in Iraq frightened the Iranians because U.S. forces had routed in three weeks an army that Iran had failed to defeat during a bloody eight-year war.

They were compliant because they were afraid. They’re not afraid now. On the contrary, a failed state is only a problem if someone else owns it. Lebanon was a failed state for 15 years and Iran’s on the cusp of seizing it; the Palestinian territories have failed and Iran’s making inroads there too. They’ve got a knack for this sort of thing, so why wouldn’t they welcome a failed state next door where the Shiite population already outnumbers everyone else 2 to 1?

And this is the Republican on the panel. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has a super-brilliant new direction for U.S. foreign policy: restarting the Cold War via “direct confrontation” with Putin.

Liebs looks good with that “Independent” under his name, though, doesn’t he?