Newt Gingrich now admits that neoconservative foreign-policy interventionism has backfired. “It may be that our capacity to export democracy is a lot more limited than we thought,” the former Speaker said.
(Before I get to the significance of this, one quick point: Gingrich says expressly, “I am a neoconservative.” I got a chuckle out of this, because it called to mind all the times we’ve been told that there’s no such thing as a neoconservative, that the term was originated by anti-Semites who use it to demonize Jews, but that there really is no such thing. And here’s a guy who actually admits he is one. So they aren’t just figments of our imaginations after all!)
At this point in his life, Gingrich’s influence is not great. What matters about the concessions he makes to the Washington Times is that he depicts himself as someone who sympathizes with Rand Paul, who is on the less interventionist side of the GOP. He condemns the establishment for responding with hysteria to noninterventionist arguments, and says the hysteria conceals the fact that the interventionists are out of arguments.
Is Gingrich an opportunist? We know the answer. But his remarks, and his eagerness to be perceived as a maverick who rethinks neoconservative interventionism, is an indication of the way the wind is blowing.