Former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells National Review Online that Iran’s self-proclaimed status as a “nuclear state” presents a “serious problem” for the United States that must be addressed by President Obama. “The president needs to say to the world that it is unacceptable to have a vicious dictatorship seeking to gain nuclear weapons with the direct goal of genocide,” Gingrich says.
Gingrich worries that America’s Iran policy is stuck in an appeasement mindset. “It’s like the 1930s,” he says. “The Iranian regime is dedicated to creating a second Holocaust, in terms of wanting to annihilate Israel. For 31 years, it has been trying to tell us through every method they know — through terrorism, killing Americans, and developing nuclear weapons — that they are trying to defeat us. Yet, while the regime is explicitly dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and the defeat of the United States, there remains an absolute refusal in the Western world to be honest about it. At what point do we decide that what we need is a calm and methodological regime-change policy — which doesn’t have to mean war? Why is it so hard for us to see this as a ruthless regime? I think our allies would probably breathe a sigh of relief if we showed courage and determination, particularly if we did it in a steady and non-violent manner.”
The U.S., Gingrich adds, should pledge to “aid every ally inside and outside Iran working to replace the regime — with the minimum of violence necessary but with an absolute commitment to replace the regime. No more negotiating, no more talking. We got the message. We know what you want, and it is unacceptable to us.”
Gingrich says this is Obama’s moment to articulate a new policy. “I’ve made two films with my wife, Callista, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny and Nine Days that Changed the World about Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland. Both outline how powerful leaders can devise strategies that dismantle entire empires within a decade. The Soviet Union was vastly bigger and more dangerous than Iran. If we could adopt non-violent strategies of coercion to break the Soviet empire, we should be able to help the millions of dissidents in Iran who want to replace the dictatorship.”
Gingrich has two ideas for Obama: “We should announce that any person caught on film engaged in violence against protestors in Iran will be brought to trial under a new regime. Let it be known to every Iranian security guard that they are risking their life if they go out and kill a protestor.” Second, he says, “if you simply blockade Iran’s flow of gasoline, you can bring the country to a halt in 60 to 90 days, since they only have one refinery.”
Time is of the essence, Gingrich concludes. “Iran doesn’t have to deliver a weapon by some sophisticated missile, but simply could put it in a ship. These are people who will acquire nuclear weapons and will use them. Every day it gets worse and more dangerous. Nothing has changed; nothing will change, until we change the regime.”