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Newt Gingrich Slams Nuclear Summit, Defends Karzai

April 13th, 2010
Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House 1995-1999

Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House 1995-1999

As President Obama was warning of the risks of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was across town at the Americans for Tax Reform, delivering a blistering critique of the administration and its agenda. Bellum dispatched a senior editor to attend.

Gingrich slammed Obama for pursuing a “fantasy foreign policy of the 1920s,” the decade which featured such lofty measureas as the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war, and said of the nuclear summit that the “entire charade of this week is an absurdity.” Obama, he argued, wants to “replace reality with words.” Gingrich also warned of “underfunding national security” and cautioned that we are “greatly underestimating how dangerous the world is.” (Compare that to John Negroponte’s comment last month on this blog that the world security situation is fundamentally “benign.”)

Gingrich compared discussing Afghanistan in isolation from the broader fight against radical Islam to discussing the  Guadalcanal campaign in isolation from the Pacific War. He suggested Afghanistan could become a South Korea — decades from now, a prosperous economy, a flourishing economy, and a small US troop presence. President Karzai “represents the best of Afghan behavior,” he argued, “a tough guy, semi-dictator” who holds things together. As for Pakistan, there is a “very real danger that at some point the regime will shatter.”

Finally, Bellum asked Gingrich why prominent Cold Warriors like Robert Gates, Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell, and even Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, to varying degrees, have backed aspects of the Obama foreign and defense policy agenda. How does he explain it? His initial two-word reply: “I can’t.” He went on to argue that “in a world where you know people cheat…you are as likely to be wrong as you are to be right,” on issues like North Korea and Iran. “Do they really believe they could create a disarmament regime of sufficient accuracy?”

Jordan Fabian at The Hill offers more coverage here; Brian O’Connell at AmSpec here; David Weigel here.

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