Newt Gingrich's foreign policy views are a combination of wild, irresponsible, and aggressive warmongering, extraordinary naivete about the nature of government, and juvenile hero worship. One only needs to read his September 7, 2006 Wall Street Journal article entitled "Lincoln and Bush" to see the truth in this statement.
First, Congress should declare that we are in World War III, says Gingrich. This in turn will require a "dramatically larger budget." And what should be done with this dramatically larger budget? According to Gingrich, the U.S. military should invade Lebanon with the purpose of "disarming Hezbollah." This would effectively commence another war with Syria, says Gingrich, as it would be "the first direct defeat of Syria," which supposedly pulls the strings of Hezbollah. It would also be an assault on Iran, says the former House speaker, and would therefore be an act of war against that country as well.
Next, full-scale warfare should be waged against North Korea, Iran and Syria with the objective of "replacing the repressive dictatorships" in those countries. All of this would somehow serve in "restoring American prestige in the region," says Gingrich. Yes, murdering hundreds of thousands of Iranians, Syrians, and Lebanese, and destroying their cities and their infrastructure of civilization, which is what war does, would surely lead the people of those countries to think of Americans as "prestigious."
Gingrich seems vaguely aware that war always causes an explosion of governmental powers and a corresponding destruction of liberty and prosperity at home. Thus, he makes the case for magically transforming the Pentagon into a paragon of efficiency. He sounds a lot like an early twentieth-century communist preaching the praises of "scientific socialism." "Clear metrics of achievement" should be implemented, as though the usual politics would not prohibit such a thing, as it has for hundreds of years in all societies. The Pentagon must be made more "business-like," an oxymoron if ever there was one.
The domestic police state should also be expanded exponentially, said Gingrich, as long as the Fatherland Security Bureaucracy is also run in a super-efficient manner, with "metrics-based performance" measurements. He does have his business school lingo down cold.
Just in case anyone criticizes his proposal for a half dozen or so new wars, Gingrich plays the standard neocon "ace-in-the-hole" strategy of quoting the "sainted" Abraham Lincoln. "We must think anew and act anew," he quotes Lincoln as saying. He praises Lincoln's response to Fort Sumter, where not a single person was harmed, let alone killed. In response to the knocking down of some bricks at the fort, Lincoln responded with a full-scale invasion of all the Southern states, waging total war on the civilian population as well, and killing some 350,000 American citizens in those states. This of course was the very definition of treason under Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution, which defines treason as only "levying war upon the states" or "giving aid and comfort to their enemies."
Gingrich says that secession would have meant "the end of the United States" when in fact the exact opposite is true: The voluntary union of the founding fathers — their United States — was destroyed by Lincoln's war. To Gingrich, Lincoln's unconstitutional invasion of the Southern states was "the road to victory." (Lincoln's greatest failure was his failure to do what all the other major powers of the mid nineteenth century did with regard to slavery, and end it peacefully).
Gingrich also seems totally unaware of or unconcerned about blowback or retaliation for American military aggression. He screeches that "terrorist recruiting is still occurring" (duh) without making any mention of the fact that such recruiting is an inevitable consequence of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Such "recruiting" will increase by many orders of magnitude should Newt Gingrich be elected president and enter the U.S. into World Wars III, IV, V, and VI, as is apparently his pipe dream.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for America Today.