William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MORE TROUBLE FOR HAGEL – AT 12:14 P.M. ET:  It appears that Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearings will be something to behold – serious and contentious.  There'd been some expectation that, after initially expressing their opposition, his opponents would back down.  That isn't happening.

One problem is that Hagel apparently made few friends in the Senate during his two terms there.  Nobody wants to have a beer with Chuck.

Another problem is that one constituency after another is expressing its doubts.  And all Chuck has to say is that his views have been "misinterpreted."  Apparently, he has trouble with English.

Even the Armenians are angry at him.  And if you've lost the Armenians...   From The Washington Free Beacon:

Armenian-American leaders and human rights advocates have expressed deep reservations about the nomination of Chuck Hagel to lead the defense department.

Hagel, a two-term Republican senator from Nebraska, was nominated Monday as President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Pentagon. He faces criticism for opposing a 2005 congressional resolution recognizing Turkey’s genocide of more than one million Armenians.

“What happened in 1915 happened in 1915,” Hagel said during a 2005 trip to Armenia when he was serving in the Senate. “As one United States senator, I think the better way to deal with this is to leave it open to historians and others to decide what happened and why.”

“The fact is that this region needs to move forward,” Hagel continued. “We need to find a lasting, just peace between Turkey and Armenia and the other nations of this region. I am not sure that by going back and dealing with that in some way that causes one side or the other to be put in difficult spot, helps move the peace process forward.”

Armenian-American leaders and genocide experts decried these comments as insensitive and dangerous. They maintain that Hagel’s willingness to overlook the systematic genocide of more than one million people raises concerns about his possible tenure as the nation’s top defense official.

“Senator Hagel’s remarks from 2005 ignore a proud chapter in U.S. history during which America’s diplomatic community played an important role denouncing human rights violations and setting an example of humanitarian assistance on behalf of a people at risk,” said Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the nonpartisan Armenian Assembly of America.

COMMENT:  There'll be none of this human rights stuff, or democracy promotion, with Obama, Kerry and Hagel in charge.  These gents never met a dictatorship they didn't like.  I wonder what they think America should stand for. 

When you look at the records of America's new top troika, they're pretty frightening.  None of these three seems to have a high regard for his own country, or its principles. 

Even Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, normally an Obama yes-man, said today he was troubled by Hagel's stance on a number of issues, all the while predicting Hagel's confirmation.  Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, of late an increasingly visible GOP spokeswoman on foreign policy, was far more forceful, promising a very animated confirmation hearing.

January 13, 2013