Could Chuck Hagel, the man President Obama wants to become Secretary of Defense, secretly be a pawn of George Soros? It is a question that liberals would not bear hearing, and one that many conservatives, no doubt, would not bear going unanswered.
And indeed, evidence has come to light suggesting that the answer to this question may incline toward the positive. Specifically, a recent report by Aaron Klein of KleinOnline suggests the following about the would-be defense secretary:
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, serves on the board of a George Soros-funded group that advocates a nuclear-free world.
The Ploughshares Fund has a long history of anti-war advocacy and is a partner of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which has urged the defunding of the Pentagon and massive decreases in U.S. defense capabilities, including slashing the American nuclear arsenal to 292 deployed weapons.
The Poughshares Fund has also partnered with a who’s who of the radical left, including Code Pink, the pro-Palestinian J Street, United for Peace & Justice, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the Demos progressive group, where Obama’s former green jobs czar, Van Jones, serves on the board.[...]
A primary Ploughshares donor is the Tides Foundation, a money tunnel in which leftist donors provide funds to finance other radical groups. Tides is itself funded by Soros.[...]
Ploughshares is directed by Joseph Cirincione, who served as an advisor on nuclear issues to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Cirincione also served as director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress.
Among the groups Ploughshares donates to the anti-Israel Americans for Peace Now, the Arms Control Association, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Policy Alternatives, the Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, the radical Citizen Action, Citizens for Environmental Justice, the Coalition for New Priorities and the radical the Institute for Policy Studies.
This is damning stuff, and no doubt many would take evidence of a Soros connection as proof beyond doubt that Hagel is an anti-American radical, or possibly even someone who takes his marching orders from Soros.
But is that proof really so strong? Certainly Hagel's choice to be on the board of an organization like the Ploughshares Fund, which does list Hagel as a board member on its website, is an argument against his judgment. But how much the organization's connection to Hagel proves about his involvement with Soros, and how much a simple connection with Soros would prove about Hagel, are wider questions.
Six Degrees of George Soros: Is Hagel Connected?
To begin with, there is the matter of Hagel being on Ploughshares' board. Certainly, given Ploughshares' generally extremely anti-war and anti-nuclear stance (as documented in the above article), this is evidence that Hagel holds far more dovish views possibly than even President Obama. In fact, given that far left websites have attacked Soros as a war profiteer in the past, and Soros himself bought 2 million shares of Halliburton in 2007, it may indicate that Hagel holds views to the left of Soros himself.
But does serving on the board of an organization that takes some of its money from Soros prove that Hagel himself is in Soros' pocket? Probably not. For one thing, given Soros' aforementioned investment in Halliburton, that would make anyone serving on Halliburton's board into a potential Soros puppet. It would also open the way to an accusation of Soros-fraternizing against people such as Dick Cheney, which is a difficult accusation to stomach. It is also unclear how much money the Tides Foundation donated to Ploughshares, whether Hagel himself drew a salary from nonprofit work with this group, and how much Hagel was involved in the day-to-day decision making at Ploughshares.
Moreover, if the aforementioned standard that serving on an organization's board makes you complicit with the people funding it were applied, it would mean that Ploughshares is not Hagel's only connection to Soros. In fact, given that Hagel is listed as serving on the board of the Chevron Corporation, it would mean that until last year, when Soros sold his shares in Chevron, Hagel was connected to Soros through two separate channels. In fact, given Soros' prolific charitable giving (not all of which goes to partisan causes), there are probably more connections still to be found in the full list of other organizations whose boards Hagel sits on. That list is as follows:
Bread for the World, Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Center for the Study of the Presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, George C. Marshall Foundation, Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Global Strategy Forum, Global Zero, Hamilton Project, Initiative for Global Development, Lung Cancer Alliance, International Center for the Study Of Radicalization and Political Violence, National Bureau of Asian Research’s Next Generation Leadership Board, Ploughshares Fund, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, U.S. Institute of Peace Middle East Senior Working Group, U.S. Middle East Project, America Abroad Media, American Security Project, and The Washington Center. He is also co-chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Corporate Council.
Still, say for the sake of argument that Hagel was connected to Soros. Would that mean Hagel was an anti-American or anti-Israeli radical? Maybe, but not necessarily so. Even though Soros himself skews very far left, not everyone with a connection to Soros even qualifies as being a Democrat, let alone being a far left radical, though most of them do qualify as being relatively non-interventionist on foreign policy. For instance, Texas Congressman Ron Paul was accused by Frontpage Magazine of taking advice on foreign policy from Soros-funded scholars during the 2012 election. Paul's foreign policy views were, obviously, far to the left of the Republican party, and arguably even to the left of the President, but no one would accuse Paul - whose time in Congress included vigorous anti-communist rhetoric prior to the fall of the Soviet Union - of being as far to the Left as the Institute for Policy Studies, which some claim was originally a communist front, though Paul may agree with its scholars on foreign policy.
Finally, retiring Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton may be preparing to assume leadership of one of Soros' many organizations after leaving her present position. Clinton also spent Election Night 2004 at Soros' apartment. Clinton's tenure in office has been criticized for many things, but rarely for insufficient hawkishness. In fact, when she assumed office, Clinton was considered one of the more hawkish members of Obama's cabinet by some sources.
Granted, from a conservative perspective, Soros' views on foreign policy are troubling, to say the least. However, those looking for evidence of Hagel's foreign policy extremism need not go so far as to ascribe sinister motives to his connection to an organization that gets money from another organization that is connected to Soros. The fact that Hagel supported resurrecting a draft, and the mission of the Ploughshares Fund more or less provides that evidence on its own:
Since 1981, Ploughshares Fund has led and supported a community of experts, advocates and analysts to implement smart strategies to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
As a publicly supported foundation, we have raised over $80 million to fund the smartest people with the best ideas. We’ve leveraged the impact of those funds with our own advocacy, connections, media profile and leadership. Combining high-level advocacy, an enhanced grantmaking capacity and our own expertise, we are enhancing global security.
In short, when a nominee serves on the board of an organization that wants to do away with nuclear weapons altogether, focusing on that organization's connection to Soros is arguably missing the forest for the trees. The fact that Hagel skews left on foreign policy has become common knowledge by this point, and has not deterred President Obama from nominating him. Skewing far enough left to want to do away with nuclear weapons, on the other hand, may be a tougher sell come Hagel's confirmation hearings.