In a far reaching interview with the German publication, Der Spiegel, the maverick Republican senator from Iowa made clear his disagreements with the Bush administration and his apparent differences with his friend, John McCain. Hagel opposed the war in Iraq and for years has been complaining about Bush Middle Eastern policies. He said the invasion of Iraq by Bush in 2003 has “caused terrible damage to our own country and undermined our interests in the world.” He suggested John McCain most probably has a foreign policy which would maintain American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for a longer time than he would like. “We need to get out, but responsibly.” Hagel also expressd disagreement with the McCain non-negotiation policy towards Iran. “We must engage Iran and reach a point when you can begin to negotiate. I do not see any alternatives.”
Senator Hagel has been mentioned as a possible Secretary of Defense in an Obama Cabinet and the Republican did not indicate he would reject such an offer if it was made by Obama. He agreed that Obama’s ideas on Middle Eastern policy and the war in Iraq were close to his own, but insisted he had those ideas before Obama came to his conclusions so Obama was following him, not the other way around.
Hagel told Der Spiegel that either Obama or McCain would change America’s relationship with the European Union and be more conciliatory and cooperative than the Bush policy of go-it-alone.