Uncertain Hagel and Kerry

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Sat, 2012-12-15 01:34 -- John Batchelor
Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hagel, who is reported to be on Obama’s shortlist to head the Pentagon, has long raised red flags on Capitol Hill for his controversial foreign policy views, which include sharp criticism of Israel, supporting the elimination of America’s nuclear arsenal, and pushing for direct unconditional talks with Iran.

Spoke to Larry Kudlow, CNBC "Kudlow Report," Thursday evening, 13 December, on the sudden withdrawal of Susan Rice from consideration for the State nomination and the accompanying report that John Kerry is now the leading contender.  Also Chuck Hagel, former senator from Nebraska, is mentioned for Defense Secretary.  My information on Hagel is there are fresh doubts of his nomination hearing, if it comes to that, because of his membership (along with frmr senator George Mitchell and frmr Treasury Secretary John Snow, on the Deutshce Bank America's Advisory board.  There are fresh allegations that Deutsche bank helped launder money for Iran.  Also, spoke to Bret Stephens of WSJ on Friday on Hagel, and he emphasized that Hagel is well know as subscribing to ant-Israeli sentiments and to showing a prejudice for the Palestinian provocateurs.    The Hagel nomination, if it comes, will meet resistance from the sophisticated Middle East watchers.  Enough to stop it?  Unknown, but the voices I have heard so far suggest that Hagel will be a heavy lift for an Obama administration that would did not fight for Rice, and that the Hagel nomination is decidedly uncertain, especially if to goes to the Hill along with John Kerry's for State.

John Kerry in the Scott Brown Seat.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, National Security Adviser Tom Donlion, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listen to President Barack Obama deliver a speech on Mideast and North Africa policy in the Ben Franklin Room at the State Department May 19, 2011 in Washington, DC.

I reported to Larry Kudlow my current information is that Kerry's nomination is not certain.  This surprised me when I learned it from a source, but I have checked with two other strong Middle East sources, and the doubts about Kerry are widespread.  Kerry is regarded as weak and a meddler.  Kerry's repeated visits to Bashar al-Assad at the Damascus Palace are certain to be a debate in nomination hearings.  Also, there are solid reports that Kerry has acted as a cut-out to pass letters from POTUS to Tehran and the Supreme Leader.  Much backstairs intrigue is mentioned.  The GOP has the motive of promoting Kerry to State to open the Senate Seat in Massachusetts to a Special Election soonest, and this reawakens the Scott Brown candidacy for the Senate.  Still, the Senate nomination gauntlet will give opportunity to draw out, challenge and contest the Obama foreign policy -- what is the plan for Syria and Iran, what negotiations are welcome? what about the stability of the region in the face of the Tehran predation?  I observe that the Susan Rice problem with Benghazi is also the John Kerry problem with Benghazi: both Rice and Kerry are caught up on the "leading from behind" gambits that have tied up the US with conniving cronies in Tehran, Cairo and Ankara who display themselves as strongmen not democrats.