The U.S. is at greater risk of terrorist attack because of the Obama administration's actions, Newt Gingrich said Monday.
In a chat with POLITICO readers, Gingrich also called the administration’s response to the North Korean missile launch a “vivid demonstration of weakness in foreign policy.” He said Obama’s proposals for a resumption of nuclear arms limitation talks reflected “a dangerous fantasy that runs an enormous risk. ... Not since Jimmy Carter have we had an administration this out of touch with reality.”
“Dick Cheney is clearly right in saying that between the court decisions about terrorists and the administration actions, the United States is running greater risks of getting attacked than we were under President Bush,” said the former speaker of the House and Georgia congressman.
Gingrich made his comments in a live reader chat in POLITICO’s Arena forum, where he was asked about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent assertions that the Obama administration’s decision to close the detention center at Guantanamo, among other actions, was making America less safe.
In his comments, Gingrich blasted Obama over a broad array of policy decisions and comments.
On the North Korean missile launch, he said “the embarrassing repudiation of the United States appeal to the United Nations Security Council Sunday afternoon is a vivid demonstration of weakness. This is beginning to resemble the Carter administration’s weakness in foreign policy.”
He said Obama’s speech on nuclear disarmament in Prague on Sunday “is a dangerous fantasy that runs an enormous risk. It is part of the Obama administration’s substitution of words for thoughts and fantasies for achievements.”
“Now we no longer have a ‘global war on terror,'” Gingrich said. “We have ‘overseas contingency operations’ Now we will no longer have ‘terrorist attacks.’ We will have ‘man-made disasters.’ None of our enemies seem to have learned this new language."
“There was amazing symbolism in North Korea deciding to launch a missile the very day President Obama was speaking to Europeans about his fantasy of nuclear disarmament. The West has talked with North Korea for over 15 years and they just keep building nuclear weapons and missiles. We have been talking with the Iranians for a decade and they continue to build nuclear capability and missiles.
“Pakistan has a lot of nuclear weapons. Russia, India and China have nuclear weapons. Hamas in Gaza fires missiles into Israel virtually every day. In this reality, our president proposes we have a big meeting in Washington to discuss nuclear disarmament.”
Gingrich also challenged Obama’s approach to the auto industry. “The concept of the president of the United States or the Secretary of the Treasury dictating the firing of the head of General Motors is an extraordinary extension of government power. ... The directed rewriting of the Justice Department career lawyers' opinion that the District of Columbia representation bill was unconstitutional is another example of the rule of politicians replacing the rule of law. There is a lot to be concerned about.”
During the chat, a reader challenged Gingrich on his statements about Obama’s nuclear arms limitation proposals, noting that “your hero” Ronald Reagan had also proposed dramatic, mutual reductions — down to zero — in nuclear weapons.
Gingrich responded: “Ronald Reagan believed we had to have a missile defense system to stop any country from breaking free and blackmailing other countries. Reagan was also talking at a time when there were only five nuclear powers (the Soviet Union, China, France, Britain, the United States).
“Reagan,” Gingrich said, “would have been much more skeptical about a plan in an age of North Korean, Iranian and Pakistani nuclear developments. How do you apply his slogan of ‘trust but verify’ in dictatorships you can't trust and can't verify?"
“Reagan felt that keeping a defensive shield alive was more important than a paper deal. The Obama administration is rapidly undermining our missile defense system while describing a fantasy world of trust and cooperation.”