Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in an interview with The Washington Times published Sunday, indicates that U.S. military interventions in the Middle East geared to "export democracy" didn't work and a better focus is on "American interests."
“I am a neoconservative. But at some point, even if you are a neoconservative, you need to take deep breath to ask if our strategies in Middle East have succeeded,” Gingrich tells the Times, adding that countries where the religion and culture are not hospitable to Western values haven't been the best breeding grounds for change.
“It may be that our capacity to export democracy is a lot more limited than we thought,” he adds.
Newt Gingrich, former presidential candidate and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, speaks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 16, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Credit: Getty Images)
Gingrich also says in the interview with the Times that the GOP needs listen to the anti-interventionist ideas put forth by libertarian Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“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 says.
“I certainly would have allied myself in the 1970s and 1980s with the strategy of intervention and defeating the Soviet Union, but there is definitely a reflection point for conservatives and Republican Party leaders on how we have approached our major national security questions,” Gingrich adds. “I am not alone in asking the question: ‘Are we making progress after the Arab Spring?’”
Gingrich also suggests that the U.S. “should begin to focus narrowly on American interests” rather than on concerning itself with how other countries govern themselves.
“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,” he tells the Times.