Gingrich: I'm Rethinking My Neoconservative Views

Image: Gingrich: I'm Rethinking My Neoconservative Views

Sunday, 04 Aug 2013 10:51 PM

By Matthew Auerbach

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Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says he's reconsidering his neoconservative views regarding the benefits gained from U.S. military interventions as a way to promote democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Gingrich believes the methods he has long been a supporter of have backfired and require re-evaluation, the Washington Times reports.

“I am a neoconservative,” Gingrich told the Times. “But at some point, even if you are a neoconservative, you need to take a deep breath to ask if our strategies in the Middle East have succeeded.”

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Gingrich, who backed the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, said he has become increasingly skeptical about the strategy of attempting to export democracy by force to countries where religion and culture clash with Western values.

“It may be that our capacity to export democracy is a lot more limited than we thought,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich said that while he has expressed his doubts concerning the ability of the U.S. for nation building before, he has only recently reached conclusions about their failures in light of the experiences of the past decade.

“My worry about all this is not new,” Gingrich said.

“But my willingness to reach a conclusion is new.”

Gingrich recommended Republicans put more weight on the anti-interventionist ideas offered by the libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a tea party favorite and foreign policy skeptic.

“I think it would be healthy to go back and war-game what alternative strategies would have been better, and I like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul because they are talking about this,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich, who less than two years ago was a staunch believer that President Obama should have “quietly tried to push” Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of office, now wonders whether the move to back the overthrow of the longtime Egyptian leader and U.S. ally might have been misguided.

“Here’s a simple question: ‘Is Egypt really better off than going back to Mubarak since it’s hard to argue that the Muslim Brotherhood’s dictatorship is better than Mubarak?’,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich warned against U.S. military action in Syria.

“I explicitly would not go into Syria,” Gingrich said.

“I would look at the whole question of how we think of the governments in other countries.”

Gingrich said the U.S. “should begin to focus narrowly on American interests” rather than on attempting to change systems of governance abroad to suit our worldview.

“I think we really need a discussion on what is an effective policy against radical Islam, since it’s hard to argue that our policies of the last 12 years have effective,” Gingrich said.

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