Former senator Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.) squirmed under questioning from Senator Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), who noted a 2007 speech in which Hagel argued that “the strategy of containment remain[s] relevant today,” with respect to Iran.
“I don’t have the speech in front of me,” Hagel said. “I think there was more to it.”
When pressed to elaborate, Hagel added: “The bigger point is, what I was saying, I think… [was] ‘what is the range of options that we would have to look at, the world would look at?’”
Ayotte asked if he meant that containment of the Iranian regime, something the Obama administration has repeatedly ruled out, should be an option. “Yes, of course,” Hagel responded.
In Hagel’s 2007 remarks, delivered at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, he said that, with regard to American policy toward Iran, “The core tenets of George Kennan’s ‘The Long Telegram’ and the strategy of containment remain relevant today” and that “This is how we should have handled Saddam Hussein.”
However, asked if containment was an option now, Hagel reconsidered his position. “No, I don’t now,” he said.