Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says President Barack Obama is making some dangerous choices in rejecting the anti-terrorism policies of the Bush administration and backing down from confronting North Korea over its threatening missile program.
In a Politico forum with readers, and in several recent interviews, Gingrich has discerned a weakness in the new administration’s foreign policy that he fears is going to embolden America’s enemies.
Moreover, the effort to treat terrorism as a criminal justice problem – rather than an act of war – will only bog the country down in pursuit of enemy combatants, Gingrich fears.
“Dick Cheney is clearly right in saying that, between the court decisions about terrorists and the administration actions, the United States is running greater risks of getting attacked than we were under President Bush,” Gingrich said.
Pointing to what he described as a “vivid demonstration of weakness in foreign policy” the former House speaker said Obama’s actions, including his proposal for a resumption of nuclear arms limitation talks, reflect “a dangerous fantasy that runs an enormous risk.
“The embarrassing repudiation of the United States appeal to the United Nations Security Council Sunday afternoon is a vivid demonstration of weakness,” Gingrich said in the Politico forum. “This is beginning to resemble the Carter administration’s weakness in foreign policy.”
Sure enough, on Tuesday a North Korean envoy threatened retaliation if the United Nations imposed further sanctions for the missile launch.
North Korea warned the U.N. Security Council that it would take "strong steps" if the 15-nation body took any action in response to Pyongyang's launch of a long-range rocket, Reuters reported.
"If the Security Council, they take any kind of steps whatever, we'll consider this is (an) encroachment on our sovereignty and the next option will be ours," Deputy Ambassador Pak Tok Hun told reporters. "Necessary and strong steps will ... follow that."
In several interviews, Gingrich has suggested that the United States should have shot down the North Korean missile, while making it very clear that any missile launched with a trajectory in the direction of the United States will be met with an overwhelming counter-attack.
North Korea “is a totally irresponsible dictatorship run by a person who is clearly out of touch with reality,” says Gingrich, who suggests the threat of “unconventional forces to stand-off capabilities; to say we’re not going to tolerate a North Korean missile launch, period.”
“I think to say, ‘We are now going to have another meeting of the U.N. to have another paper resolution that has meaningless effect,’ is very dangerous,” Gingrich says. “I have yet to see the United Nations do anything effective with either Iran or North Korea.”
Gingrich also raised a moral question. North Korea is responsible for the deaths of at least several million people because of its totalitarian rule, he said. How much longer should a world power like the United States tolerate such a regime.
“Under Kim Jong-Il this dictatorship has been so bad it has starved the people and the average North Korean today is several inches shorter than a generation ago,” Gingrich pointed out. “If we do nothing they are going to continue building nuclear weapons and missiles. If they are this aggressive when they are weak what do you think they will be like when they are strong?”
The Obama administration is rapidly undermining the U.S. missile defense system while imagining a fantasy world of trust and cooperation, Gingrich says.
“Ronald Reagan believed we had to have a missile defense system to stop any country from breaking free and blackmailing other countries,” Gingrich says, adding the reminder that there were only five nuclear powers at the time: the Soviet Union, China, France, Britain, and the United States.
“Reagan would have been much more skeptical about a plan in an age of North Korean, Iranian and Pakistani nuclear developments. How do you apply his slogan of ‘trust but verify’ in dictatorships you can't trust and can't verify?”
It was left up to Reagan to rebuild the United States after Carter allowed U.S. security policy to wither in the late 1970s.
“There's a fascinating analysis of Jimmy Carter's Notre Dame speech when he spoke at the commencement in 1977. And that was the moment in which Carter's fantasy view of the world became clear, and the beginning, I think, of the end of his — of his administration,” Gingrich said, likening Carter to Obama. “The president's in a world where Hamas is firing missiles every day into Israel, Iran is building nuclear weapons, and the North Koreans today during — basically during his speech fired a missile, and he has some wonderful fantasy idea that we're going to have a great meeting next year.
I just think that it's very dangerous to have a fantasy foreign policy, and it can get you in enormous trouble, just like giving — you know, we don't have a war on terror anymore,” Gingrich said. “We don't have terrorist attacks anymore. So now homeland security has manmade disasters.
“I'm somehow not comforted with the thought that 9/11 was a manmade disaster but not a terrorist attack, and I'm not comforted with words instead of serious systematic policies.”
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