Skip to comments.Opinion: Chuck Hagel is not the worry
Posted on 03/03/2013 8:55:15 AM PST by James C. Bennett
Chuck Hagel, former senator from Nebraska, and now the brand new US Defence Secretary, has walked into a typical South Asian storm even before he formally entered office. From a partial revelation of a previously unreleased speech he made over two years ago, in 2011, at Cameron University in Lawton, Okhlahoma, Hagel appears to hold a brief for Pakistan. This is what he said in a video clip that runs for several seconds: India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being (that) the tense fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many, many years.
Read as it is, there is no ambiguity: Hagel is talking as though he were Pakistans defence minister, especially the use of the phrase second front and that part about financing problems for our western neighbour. What we do know is that his speech must have lasted much longer than the 17 seconds that is available in the Internet and that it was about Afghanistan. What we do not know at the moment is what he said in the rest of the speech. We do not know what the immediate context was to this portion. Let us give him the benefit of doubt.
As someone not in government in 2011, he would not have had access to a lot of information/intelligence that is going to land on his table as Defence Secretary. Let us recall that before the attacks on the World Trade Towers, the US used to routinely pooh-pooh Indian assertions on Pakistans role in Kashmir, its financing terrorism there and fanning a secessionist movement. Even the CIA did not give credence to New Delhis assertions. It is only after the US entrenched itself deeply in Pakistan, electronically eavesdropping, putting more intelligence assets on the ground, that it saw for itself exactly what was going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hagel will have to re-educate himself on Pakistan once he is in office. I also do not think that Hagel alone can change the American policy on India.
What we should be more worried is what our own Prime Minister did in 2009 in Sharm el-Sheikh when he met Yousuf Raza Gilani, his Pakistani counterpart. Manmohan Singh persuaded himself to be part of a joint statement that went: Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats.
Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.
After Gilani went back to Islamabad, he promptly accused India of interfering in Balochistan. Let us remember that this was two years before Hagels speech at Cameron University. It is one thing for assorted American politicians, Pakistani politicians and militarymen-turned-politicians to make the accusation. It is entirely another thing if it is mentioned in a prime ministerial-level joint statement where an inescapable bilateral solemnity is conferred on it. The Prime Ministers Balochistan gift to Pakistan will come to haunt us again and again, just as we are seeing. The real pity is we seem to be doing precious little in leveraging Balochistan where we do not have a geographical connect in any case, which severely limits covert options. Will it change once the US exits Afghanistan?
Hagel's remarks against India 'bizarre': BJP
The Pioneer ^ | Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | Press Trust of India
New Delhi - Terming as "outlandish and bizarre" the statement of Chuck Hagel, the new US Defence Secretary, that India has financed problems for Pakistan in Afghanistan, BJP today asked the government to exert diplomatic pressure on Washington for unconditional withdrawal of his statement.
The statement given by Hagel that India has financed problems in Pakistan is "outlandish, bizarre and baseless," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
He also expressed surprise over Hagel giving a clean to Pakistan, which has harboured in the backyard of its military base al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, who was responsible for killing of more than 5000 Americans in the World Trade Centre attack.
"BJP is concerned at the indifference of the Indian government by not reacting to Hagel. BJP demands that Government of India uses its diplomatic pressure to see that Mr Chuck Hagel retracts his statement unconditionally," Rudy said.
Hagel had made the remarks during a speech at Oklahoma's Cameron University in 2011, which has surfaced now.
"India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border," the former Republican Senator had said.
His remarks are considered in sharp contrast to viewpoint of Obama Administration that has always been in praise of India's developmental role in Afghanistan and in fact has been pressing New Delhi to do more in Afghanistan.
Reacting to this, the Indian Embassy in Washington had said, "Such comments attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations, are contrary to the reality of India's unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghan people".
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said such statements from Hagel are "bad news" for India.
"This is a matter of serious concern to India. Just the Indian embassy in the US reacting to it is not enough. India should respond to it," he told reporters.
"Doubts have already been raised about US Secretary of State John Kerry and now Hagel has spoken on these lines. What kind of a team is President Barack Obama building. They are entirely pro-Pakistan and anti-India," Sinha said.
Rudy said, "The country which favoured Osama is being favoured by the Defence Secretary of the US. It is hilarious and condemnable."
I don’t see how Obama could have picked two worse candidate to be Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State if he had tried.
And I think he tried.
If you think they're bad, check out your new CIA Director
With all the dust-up about Hagel & Kerry, the MSM's keeping a tight lid on this guy's background and beliefs.
“India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being (that) the tense fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many, many years.
And just what pray tell is/was Hagel’s evidence for that comment? Just what “problems for Pakistan” is it that India “financed” in Afghanistan?? When, very factually, Afghanistan is a nation plagued for decades by an Islamist groupd created by the Pakitani intelligence services wtih funding from the Saudis - the Taliban.
Was Hagel just speaking as a bought and paid for shill of Pakistan or Pakistan’s friends in the Middle East, or was he merely mouthing words given to him by U.S. academic and/or state department foreign policy “analysts” that are nothing less than moles for Middle East interests??
What’s the biggest problem with Hagel? The biggest problem with Hagel is that he is putty in the hands of those who know 100 times more than he does, and whose interests are NOT OUR national interests.