February 12, 2013
US President Barack Obama has decided to bring into office in CIA and Pentagon two figures that have been involved in the counter-terrorist war of the country against Islamic fundamentalism. John Brennan was positioned as chief counter-terrorism advisor to the President, whereas Chuck Hagel was assumed with the Ministry of Defence. But why such a discussion around their names?
John Brennan was already chosen by President Obama during his first term in office in 2008, but the reactions that followed the announcement pressed the President to withdraw his selection. Now, Brennan is positioned as head in charge of CIA, being previously responsible for secret abductions and tortures for allegedly accused terrorists in the world, while considered as the initiator of the “drone” aircrafts that had bombarded Afghanistan and Pakistan, causing the death of tens of people.
On the other hand, Chuck Hagel was positioned as Minister of Defence. This decision has stirred up negative reactions from the Israeli lobby, as Hagel was one of the fierce supporters of the abrupt cut of Israeli-American strategic partnership regarding the issue of the nuclear program of Iran, when he openly stated that the US should start discussing directly with Teheran about its nuclear program in 2010 and set aside Israeli conerns. In this respect, Hagel is amongst these policy-makers that believe that the continuing support of Israel has damaged the US interests in the Middle East short- and long-term, which is also the position supported by prominent scholars and academics like John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.
What is more, Hagel had played a vital role in the almost secret bombardments that the US launched against Yemen in spring 2012 in order to protect the pro-American regime in the Arab Peninsula. Nonetheless, Hagel was turned against the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, a fact that placed him amongst the least “hawkish” figures of the US military establishment.
Theoritically, the two decisions of President Obama for the previous positions are moving at the opposite direction, given that Brennan is notorious for his harsh counter-terrorist methods, while Hagel is endorsed by the less belligerent camps in Pentagon and the White House. In reality, these two decisions seem completely coherent as they express the new strategic plan of the US to support fast-paced, small in number, and highly-advanced military groups that intervene globally and act efficiently beyond the barriers set by the international public law. The so-called strategy of the “boots on the ground” with the highly-expensive military troops deployed all over the globe is no more what the US wants, and there are therefore replaced by small units that cooperate with anti-regime guerilla in sensitive areas of geopolitical interest, like Libya, and Syria. This doctrine is considered to be the new model of the US military action and intervention in international affairs thereafter.
What is left is whether this new doctrine will decrease the role and power of the US-Israeli relationship in the Middle East. In case this happens, Israel will be completely deserted by global attention and protection and it will be entoured by a number of hostile states with instable regimes and high rates of military and political volatility. And this will definitely be a fundamental shift in international geopolitical balances with striking side-effects in a number of issues (i.e. Palestinian issue, the role of Iran and Egypt, the fragile balance with Lebanon).Dimitris Rapidis