'This Week': Foreign Policy Under Fire

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the powerhouse roundtable on criticism of President Obama's foreign policy.
5:34 | 05/11/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Foreign Policy Under Fire
Now more of my exclusive interview with defense secretary chuck Hagel and the reaction to the heat president Obama has been taking over his foreign policy choices. Even this from the usually friendly "New York times" editorial page. The perception of weakness, dithering, inaction, there are many names for it, has indisputably had a negative effect on Mr. Obama's global standing. I asked secretary Hagel about that. I don't subscribe to "The new York times'" analysis. Because -- it is not an easy matter of just what your perception is in the world. I don't think you can run foreign policy, lead a nation, be president of the united States based on what other people think of you. When I travel overseas, people say different things about America. They say it's not as forceful. Have you not seen that? I have seen some of it. Yes. Yes. I think that's a reality that is out there. We're still the dominant power. No one is in our universe whether you apply a metric of measurement of economic power, or military power. That doesn't mean we can solve every problem alone. No nation can do that. I do think there is a smens out there that you have correctly identified by some that somehow America's power is eroding or we're not going to use our power or we're too timid about our power. I don't believe that. I think we have been wise on how we use our power. Back now with the "Roundtable." So secretary Hagel says he has heard people say that America looks a little weaker. Though he doesn't agree with them. Bill kristol? That's stunning. The secretary of defense of the United States to say, yes, there's a perception object America out there. That's appalling. It has consequences in the real world. I'm afraid it's eroding. Our power. We seem to be withdrawing because we are. President Obama said it's time that the international community finally does something about boko harm, this terrible group in Nigeria. His own state department refused to put them on the terror list for over two years. The perception is that we're not serious about exercising power. Donna Brazile, we all know that president Obama came out of the war in Iraq. He didn't want another war. Didn't want to go into these places. Did he learn the wrong lesson? I don't think so. He is strategic about foreign policy. This is a different country after 9/11. The American people are war-weary. They want us to use the power strategically. Effectively. Not every time the wind blows. We know how to get it done and get it done right. I don't buy the notion that the United States is a weakened country. How about the red line in Syria? That red line in Syria was a dumb comment to make at a time when he should have shown more bold action. Given the crisis, the humanitarian crisis. The death toll. Going to bill's point about boko harm. The state department got a lot of flack. Including by John Campbell who wrote a book, dancing, something dancing. Nigeria is the second -- now the biggest country in Africa in term of its economy. There were real reasons why they waited or hesitated to put this organization as a terrorist group. But the truth is, the united States can Marshall the resources and the power to get things done in the world. Congressman, I want to move to the V.A., which is such an important topic. You heard the piece. Veterans are outraged. I have talked to so many and families who are outraged by this. It's different. There's been a backlog. But this is different. People are dying because they're waiting. Should shinseki resign? Well, I'm not going to go as far as to say that he should resign yet. As a veteran, myself, this is especially offensive. I think let's see what he does right now. Does he get on this and make changes? One of the things he's saying is we have made vast improvements. 40%, 50 pokt%, how do we know? They're faking Numbers. Drawing fake waiting lists and trying to -- this is the problem of bureaucracy. And huge government. Sometimes the stuff falls by the wayside. The people that those that put their life on the line for our country are the ones on the short end of this. This is something that in congress, we have to be right on top of. I hope the president can be right on top of as well. Michael, does this have legs? As we say in the business. Will this really finally make changes? It does. Absolutely. I think they have taken a page, the V.A., out of the gm playbook for crisis management. They should be telling it all, telling it themselves. No press conference. Nothing forthcoming. I'm concerned this is the tip of the iceberg. There are other lurking issues. One that has my focus is that 1 of 6 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have substance abuse issues. I think it's because of the overprescription of pain meds that in many cases leads to a heroin addiction and a life of crime. So I think much is yet to come. And we'll have a whole lot more veterans coming home by the end of the year. Thank you, all of you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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