Newt Gingrich: U.S. Needs a Rethink on ‘Exporting Democracy’

Mike O'Brien

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the U.S. should rethink its strategy of military interventions abroad.

The neoconservative Republican from Georgia said America’s ability to "export democracy" needs to be reevaluated.

In an interview with the Washington Times, Mr. Gingrich said: "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.

"It may be that our capacity to export democracy is a lot more limited than we thought."

He told the Times that he no longer believes interventionist policies are effective.

"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 last 12 years have been effective," he said.

"My worry about all this is not new. But my willingness to reach a conclusion is new," he added.

Mr. Gingrich’s comments would appear to be far removed from his previously held, hawkish views.

He campaigned for invasions in both Iraq and Afghanistan and has often touted his pro-Israel views.

While running for president in 2011, Mr. Gingrich said he would pick former U.N ambassador and staunch neoconservative John Bolton to be his secretary of state if elected.

His advisory team in the 2011 campaign also included several veterans of the George W. Bush administration.