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USA Today - Why I expect to oppose Hagel

Op-Ed

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

By Sen. Ted Cruz

We can and should do better.

Former senator Chuck Hagel is a war hero and public official who has served America honorably. However, his views on foreign and defense policy are out of the mainstream, and he is not a good fit for secretary of Defense. I expect to oppose his nomination for several reasons:

His record on Israel strongly suggests that he views Israel not as our friend but as a nuisance. The U.S.-Israeli alliance is critical to our national security, but Hagel has been far too willing to undermine that alliance. He was one of only four senators who refused to sign a letter urging the president to express solidarity with Israel and condemn the Palestinian campaign of violence. And he has stated that he believes Israel has "chained down" the Palestinians.

Equally concerning is Hagel's willingness to accept rogue states as legitimate players on the international stage on par with our friends. For instance, he voted against designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, opposed renewal of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act and opposed the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act. He has advocated direct, comprehensive negotiations with Iran's government, along with Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria.

Iran is rapidly pursuing nuclear weapons capacity. The surest way to avoid military conflict is to have a strong and credible defense; weakness and appeasement only invite military aggression.

Also troubling is Hagel's willingness to subject the United States to the whims of international organizations. He supports the Law of the Sea Treaty, for example, which would undermine our sovereignty and require American businesses to pay global royalties for oil and gas development.

Finally, presidents "float" potential Cabinet nominees to assess support and avoid potentially ugly confirmation battles. With bipartisan opposition to Hagel growing -- NBC's Chuck Todd said Monday that 10 Senate Democrats might oppose Hagel's nomination, on top of numerous Republicans -- the White House is picking an avoidable fight for political purposes by pushing this nominee.

We can and should do better.


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