The meaning of the Hagel nomination

It should be fairly clear that Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense indicates that he has no intention of preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weaponry.  That’s the real meaning of the nomination.  Barack Obama lied when he told the world that he will not allow Iran gaining nukes in much the same way that he lied when said that Jerusalem should remain undivided.

Thus one of the primary consequences of the reelection of Barack Obama will be a theocratic-fascist state that calls for the destruction of Israel gaining the means of bringing that destruction about.  This does not mean, needless to say, that as soon as Iran gains its nuclear arsenal that it will bomb the holy hell out of Israel.  This is highly unlikely because, despite the apocalyptic dreams of the mullahs, these people are neither suicidal nor stupid.

What it does mean is that in the Middle Eastern contest between the secular fascists and the Muslim fascists that the Muslim fascists will continue to win out and countries, like Turkey, that waiver between looking east toward Iran and looking west toward the European Union will continue trending toward the east and Iran.  As Barack Obama has bolstered the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East, which he encouraged people to think of as a positive development, an Iran with nuclear weaponry will highlight the vitality in that movement and will stimulate its ongoing growth throughout the Muslim world.

This will lead to a nuclear arms race throughout the region as Saudi Arabia and Egypt compete with Iran for regional supremacy and thereby substantially increase the possibility of such weapons falling into the hands of non-state actors which, in turn, will increase the possibility of such weapons actually being used.

For Israel what this means is the decline of Zionism as a movement designed to free the Jewish people from living or dying according to the whims of non-Jews.  If Zionism meant anything, it meant that.  The point of Israel, aside from the rejuvenation of Jewish culture, was that Jews would no longer live or die according to the caprice of others.  The moment that Iran goes nuclear this will no longer be the case.  While I do not think that Iranian leadership is entirely irrational, nor suicidal, it will nonetheless remain the case that Iran will have veto power over the existence of the Jewish State of Israel.

What this will mean is that Israeli existential fears will dramatically increase thereby causing any number of Israelis to move out of the country.  Iran need not use its forthcoming nuclear arsenal for it to significantly harm Israel because the very fact of those weapons will place Israeli families, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, in considerable jeopardy.  This will likely cause a big increase in immigration out of the state, will do significant damage to the Israeli economy, and will probably encourage the ongoing rise of the Israeli right-wing that will increasingly look beyond the United States for strategic partners.

Finally, the rise of a nuclear Iran will represent a significant turning point in the decline of the west.  Europe is an economic basket-case and the US may not be far behind.  An Iran with nukes will also put an exclamation point on the evacuation of US global leadership under the Obama administration and will thereby mean, if not the end of that leadership, something quite close.  As the US continues its grim slide, both China and Russia will be emboldened and countries like India and Israel will look elsewhere for leadership and alternative partners.

If Obama was serious about preventing Iranian nukes he certainly would have nominated someone other than Chuck Hagel.  He did not nominate Hagel out of animosity toward Israel, as some have suggested. He nominated Hagel for Secretary of Defense because for ideological reasons he wishes to see a United States that leads from behind.  The United States under Obama is post-colonial and that means the US will merely be one country among 192 other countries, plus “Palestine.”

This is not the end of the world, nor the end of Israel, but it is symptomatic of an America in decline under an administration that disdains western power.  In any case, this is also deeply harmful toward your country and it makes me wonder what, if anything, that you can do about it.


Mike Lumish is the proprietor of the pro-Israel blog, Israel Thrives.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at