Photo: Patsy Lynch/Polaris/Newscom

Just how diplomatic would former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) be as Secretary of Defense? The fact that Iran backs Hagel’s nomination should give Senators pause.

Hagel has called repeatedly for better relations with Iran, the worst state sponsor of terrorism in history. In several past speeches (some not provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee), Hagel was open about the “need” to reach out to and have a normal relationship with Iran. He makes it appear as if the differences we have with Tehran—which supplied military-grade weapons to our enemies in Iraq specifically designed to kill Americans—are somehow our fault.

Hagel has long been an opponent of sanctions as a means of influencing other nations. That said, there is not an iota of evidence that supports his apparent belief that normalizing relations with Iran would influence its behavior. President Obama’s efforts to extend his hand to Tehran in his first year fell completely flat. Since then, Tehran has advanced its nuclear weapons program; continued to support the terrorist group Hezbollah; has actively created, equipped, and trained radical militias to prop up the despotic Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria; and has continued to bully the fledgling government in Iraq. Oh yes, and there was that little issue of the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in Washington in 2011.

Hagel’s stumbling performance in his confirmation hearing was not reassuring. He refused to give direct answers as to his views on Iran, and he generally showed a lack of preparation and competence with key areas of policy.

What are his intentions toward Iran? Will Hagel be the bulwark of strength that helps keep the apocalyptic ambitions of the murderous mullahs at bay, or will he meekly “ask” them to behave? America deserves better than this from any Secretary of Defense. America requires more than this to provide for the common defense.