South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Al Monitor on former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s remarks at the Atlantic Council on January 13, discussing US foreign policy toward Syria during his appointment:

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a Washington audience Jan. 13 that President Barack Obama erred when he called for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to step down early in the Syrian civil war.

While Assad is a “brutal dictator” who must eventually leave office, Hagel said, the United States should have learned from the chaos that followed the abrupt removal of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi that taking out authoritarian leaders without knowing who will take their place is not the best solution.

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