After an initial reaction of shrill, almost hysterical
hostility, Israeli officials are reexamining the Chuck Hagel question with the former senator’s nomination now seeming a foregone conclusion, and are hoping to turn lemons into lemonade, at least where Hagel’s past opposition to aggressive warfare is concerned.
A lot of the old concern about Hagel centered on him not being on board with invading Iran out of the blue, but Israeli officials now say
they’re willing to give Hagel a chance on the matter, feeling him out to see if he might be brought on board with the war.
The change of heart centers on the notion that if Sen. Hagel can be gotten to, and convinced of the value of attacking Iran, his previous opposition would be a big chance to respin the war as even more legitimate in having brought even the doubters around.
This redefines the Hagel nomination and confirmation progress not around his past lack of hawkishness, but around how readily he can be repurposed as a “reluctant hawk” whose acquiescence can take the wind out of the sails of war opponents.