After weeks of debate, republican ex-senator chuck hagel took office as the new u.S. Secretary of defense on wednesday. He said he wants to continue working to ensure the U.S. Is a "force for good" in the world.
He said this in a speech to his staff in washington. He wants to renew old alliances and create new ones, said hagel, who is considered diplomatic. "We can’t tell the world what to do, we have to engage with it."The 66-year-old was named the new head of the pentagon on tuesday evening by a vote of 58 to 41. This is the most concise endorsement of a U.S. Defense secretary since the inauguration of the post in the 1940s.
After the long tug-of-war over the personnel matter, hagel’s predecessors and president barack obama tried to smooth the waves in reactions to the senate vote. Retiring defense secretary leon panetta said he was pleased that obama had chosen "such an outstanding leader" as his successor. Obama said hagel, with his past as a vietnam veteran and his experience in politics, is "the secretary of defense our nation needs and the leader our troops deserve".
The personnel matter had become a partisan test of obama’s strength with republicans over the weeks. Just under two weeks ago, the republicans had the nomination of their party colleague with a so-called filibuster (permanent speeches) initially burst.
For many conservatives, it is not tough enough. They criticized the vietnam veteran for relying too long on diplomacy in resolving international conflicts, like the president, and seeing military force only as a last resort. In addition, hagel had once spoken out against a military strike in the nuclear dispute with iran, angering mainly pro-israel groups. However, he corrected his position in the confirmation process, calling iran a "significant threat.".
Meanwhile, the nomination of CIA chief nominee john brennan remains stuck in the senate. Some republicans demand more information from obama’s previous anti-terror adviser on secret u.S. Drone strikes abroad. In contrast, the designated finance minister, jack lew, seems to meet with less resistance. The senate finance committee on tuesday voted 19-5 in favor of his choice. He could be confirmed by the full senate this week.