Late last February, North Korea announced that it was preparing a rocket launch in order to — allegedly — put a communications satellite into space. While U.S. and allied officials widely believe “the launching is a cover for testing technology for a long-range missile that could carry a nuclear warhead,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last Sunday that the U.S. has no plans to militarily disrupt the launch.
But Newt Gingrich believes military action is necessary. Last night on Fox News, Gingrich said “we should be very worried,” referencing a “novel” he read about a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack which “could eliminate all electricity production” in the U.S. “[W]e would go back to a pre-industrial era overnight, in seconds,” Gingrich warned. “It’s a very serious threat”:
GINGRICH: I don’t think North Korea should be allowed to launch missiles. I think we should take whatever preemptive actions are necessary. The idea that we’re going to suddenly be shocked one morning as one of these missiles has a nuclear weapon and does something that dramatically changes America I think is a very dangerous idea.
Continuing his fantasy, Gingrich then likened a lack of action on North Korea (and Iran and Hamas) to what “we did in the 1930’s about Adolf Hitler and Nazism.” He argued that “changing the regime is the only way to change the behavior,” but if all else fails, the U.S. should use lasers to wipe out the missile. Watch it:
As the Washington Post noted, “North Korea’s missiles are inaccurate and decades out of date,” and experts “agree that North Korea is probably years away from putting nuclear warheads on long-range missiles that could hit the United States.”
Moreover, the International Crisis Group has warned against overreactions of the type Gingrich displayed:
“[A]n overblown response would likely jeopardise the Six-Party Talks to end North Korea’s nuclear program. What is needed is a calm, coordinated response from the key actors to raise pressure on Pyongyang to return to the talks rather than a divided reaction that only fulfils the North’s desire to widen splits among its neighbours. […] An overreaction to the test that prompts the North to abandon the Six-Party Talks would strengthen hardliners in Pyongyang.”
Gingrich appears to enjoy engaging in hyperbole as of late. Just last week, he warned that President Obama’s policies are taking the U.S. toward “dictatorship.”