Gingrich and the Sabotage of Iran

Gingrich and the Sabotage of Iran

Newt Gingrich, former U.S. House of Representatives, outright said this week that the United States should “sabotage” the oil and gas infrastructure in Iran as part of an effort to take down their government.

I recommend playing this in the background while you read the rest of this post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5rRZdiu1UE

Let’s step back a moment and look at the world political context- forest for the trees, so to speak:
What is sabotage? And what is the line between political power, political influence and political decision? With the situation in Iran smoldering after an election that saw intrigue and international controversy played out live in real-time on Twitter, changing the context of both journalism and international politics, let alone the ramifications of foreign policy, what will be the next move for the U.S. in the story that is Middle Eastern politics?

Formerly fingered by George Bush as part of the axis of evil, Iran continues to throw a wrench into the plans of the “developed” world. Obama is in Russia tripping over his words with Pres… Prime Minister Putin and President (?) Medvedev and Iran continues to be viewed as volatile and dangerous. Voices of the Republican Party like Sanford and Limbaugh are loosely blaming the breakdown of the American family on gay marriage, Palin’s retirement and Michael Jackson’s death are claiming headlines- the world is in turmoil- and all is pretty much as it always has been: burbling like a Lewis Carroll character, based in reality with expansive and inexplicable tangents passing as reality and logic.

Gingrich made his sabotage suggestion to Avi Lewis of Al Jazeera on the Fault Lines program, asserting that targeting Iran’s refinery would create crisis in their economy so great that it would destabalize their government. Maybe. And maybe now it’s not even an option- thanks, Newt.

According to Gingrich, the US should "use covert operations … to create a gasoline-led crisis to try and replace the regime.”

But is part of that plan to broadcast it to the world? He continued:

“I think we have a vested interest, the world has a vested interest, in a responsible Iranian government, just as we have a vested interest in a responsible North Korean government."

Obama has tried to engage with Iran on the diplomatic front lately after an admittedly uninspiring history going back to at least Reagan, if not further.

Gingrich is predictably complimentary of the Reagan era strategic maneuvers, saying:

"I think that the Reagan strategy in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s is the right strategy: we use economic, diplomatic, psychological pressures to try to change the regime."

Right. Because everything in Eastern Europe has worked out so well. Again, is sabotage politics? Is it a viable part of international policy? Foreign relations? What would be the follow-up conversation to an intentional, even successful sabotage of the Iranian oil economy?

Um… Don’t mess with us again? Then blow the smoke from the barrel of the sabotage gun and walk off into the sunset?

Though perhaps he is right. Afterall, nothing else seems to be working…

You can listen to the full interview with Newt Gingrich on Fault Lines this Friday at 08:30 GMT.