Monday, April 6, 2009

Newt Cheney (or, Dick Gingrich)

It is being widely reported that Newt Gingrich is considering -- seriously considering -- a run for the presidency in 2012. Well, we need not wonder which political demographic Newt is aiming to capture: The Dick Cheney, hard-right, neo-con segment of America's political fringe.

Last Thursday, Newt was on Fox News discussing the North Korea missile launch situation (this was pre-launch, mind you). Transcript & video here. During the interview, Newt made the following outrageous suggestion:

VAN SUSTEREN: . . . . If you were president, what would you do about this North Korea problem?

GINGRICH: I would use whatever methods were necessary for the missile never to be launched. And I think you could do it probably with unconventional methods.

VAN SUSTEREN: So that's military. Are you saying military?

GINGRICH: If necessary. If I can't find a way to bribe somebody to blow it up, I'd find a way to have either a small team go in, or a way to deliver either a laser or another kind of device.

This is a missile that is sitting there on that launch pad, and I think you could take it out with very, very minimal risk to anybody.
This is an insane idea! If we had preemptively attacked North Korea by blowing up the missile pre-launch, then we are first aggressors. China will side with North Korea, as they are strong allies. All of a sudden, a relatively minor crisis is expanded into a much more substantial foreign policy crisis. China could threaten military retaliation (that's unlikely, but it is much more likely than is currently the case), and are tenuous partnership with China will be destroyed. Further, the efforts Obama has put forth to re-gain our moral status in the world will be destroyed, because we would have preemptively attacked a smaller country that had not made an overt threat to our safety.

This sort of thinking by Newt was also espoused by Cheney and the other neo-cons. That got us a war -- based on false pretenses -- in Iraq and a war in Afghanistan, not to mention an international reputation for being trigger-happy torturers.

Perhaps there are enough neo-cons in America to elect Newt on the basis of such radical policies, but I doubt it. Further, this sort of thought will alienate all moderates and liberals, not to mention the rest of the world.

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