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Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Defense secretary a convenient scapegoat

The resignation is a sign of President Barack Obama's growing weakness, the liberal business paper Il Sole 24 Ore notes: "After the defeat in the midterm elections Obama is already viewed as a lame duck. Now he also threatens to become a mute duck if he doesn't take over the reins again in foreign policy. ... Hagel is a convenient scapegoat for the crisis that the White House has suffered on the [Middle-]Eastern front. The question is crucial: Obama must say who he wants to make peace with and against whom he wants to wage war. Above all in the Middle East, where US and Western policy appear rather contradictory. That must be part of the reason why the war veteran Hagel, eyewitness to various US debacles, from the Vietnam War to the era of George W. Bush, prefered to step down as Secretary of Defense."

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