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Former Defense Secretary Hagel Says Trump Is ‘On the Right Track’ with Russia

Dec. 18, 2016 (EIRNS)—Former Obama Administration Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said yesterday that President-elect Donald Trump is “on the right track” in his pursuit of a new working relationship with Russia.

Speaking to the Lincoln Journal Star after delivering a commencement address at the University of Nebraska yesterday, Hagel said "We’ve got to find a way to anchor a new relationship" rather than continue down "a dangerous path that could lead to serious confrontation," he said.

Hagel said he believes engagement with both Russia and China is critical. "Engagement is not surrender or appeasement," he said.

"Secure leaders engage; great powers engage. I like what Trump is saying about engaging with Russia. Let’s reach out and see if we can put this relationship on a whole new footing."

The alternative, he said, could be a slide toward "a showdown somewhere, a confrontation" that could be very dangerous. The world is too dangerous now not to engage, Hagel said.

In Syria, "all these big powers are rumbling around with boots on the ground and aircraft in the air," Hagel said, and "something’s going to happen" if a settlement or cooperative agreement isn’t reached. There’s "no possibility for stability in the Middle East" without multinational engagement."

Before becoming Obama’s first-term Secretary of Defense, Hagel was a two-term Republican Senator from Nebraska.

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