Response to Gingrich's Assault on State Department

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By David Remer, June 17, 2003

In response to an article by Brian Knowlton, June 17, 2003, regarding Gingrich's call for the overhaul of the US State Department, a critical analysis is required. (See link below for Knowlton's article). Gingrich is a hawk who believes that the US should use its military and economic might to reshape the world according to US whims and designs. There is no doubt that Newt Gingrich is patriotic, he loves his country. What he does not seem to acknowledge is that his brand of patriotism is just another form of nationalism. And while he condemns nationalism in countries that won't play ball with the US, he seems unwilling to recognize what the US looks like to other nations, nor, would he care if he did recognize it.

It is apparent from Gingrich's words that what the rest of the world thinks is irrelevant, since, we have the power to enforce world compliance within certain limits. Brian Knowlton quotes Gingrich as saying "The world does not have to love us but it must be able to predict us." Knowlton states, "His [Gingrich] article in Foreign Policy magazine calls for a new "global communication strategy" that would much more actively seek acceptance of American policies, and where that failed, at least clearly inform the world of American plans." It is clear Newt Gingrich is calling for a state department that informs the world of how it is to bend and yield to American global designs with or without the world's acceptance.

It is also clear from Gingrich's remarks that he believes the State Department should be playing the role of propagandist rather than diplomat. Again from Knowlton's article, "He said that American statecraft had become stodgy and "too narrow" for modern times, that better communications with the world were desperately needed but "literally beyond the capacity of the current system," and that the Foreign Service culture favored "politeness and accommodation" at times when a tougher approach was warranted."

And what does Gingrich mean by a tougher approach? It seems clear from the following when Knowlton states, "He urged a formal analysis of international news coverage leading up to the Iraq war, and suggested that Arab governments whose state-owned news media had shown "anti-American hostility" should be pressured to change." Knowlton continues with the following, "Mr. Gingrich was not apologetic about wanting to spread American values robustly. If other countries failed to support "core values" important to the United States, free speech, free markets, free elections, equality of women, racial equality and other values, then "it is hard to imagine a world in which U.S. safety can be secured."

And as we have all learned of late, securing safety for the US is good enough reason for invasion, regime change, and all out war. This approach of Newt Gingrich is extremely dangerous for the US and its military. Newt Gingrich currently holds a position as member of a Pentagon advisory board, and as such is advocating that the military approach to international acceptance of American foreign policy is the only way to secure America. He even goes so far as to suggest that the power and authority of the State Department, Defense department and other agencies involved in international communication be brought directly under the supervision of the President.

The Constitution of the US clearly intended to separate through checks and balances the agencies and branches of government as a protection against any one person, agency or branch of government making unilateral decisions for the American nation. Newt Gingrich is now recommending just the opposite when he calls for all powers to negotiate with foreign nations, to communicate with foreign nations and to contract with foreign nations be consolidated in the office of the President. Founding fathers would view this as restoration of the King we fought so bloodily and ardently to get out from under.

Brian Knowlton's excellent article found in the International Herald Tribune can be viewed HERE

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on June 17, 2003 6:01 PM.

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