The men who fought in Vietnam, a war that symbolizes America’s overreach and failures abroad, haven’t ascended to the presidency in the way that the World War II generation did. But now, under President Barack Obama, Vietnam veterans Chuck Hagel and John Kerry could get a chance to pull America back from its foreign entanglements.

Obama’s nominations of these men, and the world’s disenchantment with this president, signal that in his second term, the United States will have a less zealous mission in the world. The mantra isn’t quite the late U.S. Sen. George McGovern’s “come home, America,” but we are not far from that Vietnam-era weariness of distant lands and causes. And who better than a president with a foreign pedigree and two combat veterans from the Vietnam war at the helm of the Pentagon and the State Department to give this retrenchment a sense of legitimacy?

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