March 24, 2022

#052: Newt’s World – Former Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

Hosted by Fran Racioppi

The World Order which has stood since 1945 is today being tested in every corner of the globe and affecting our economy here in America. Host Fran Racioppi is joined in this episode by Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to spoke strategy across the Elements of National Power, the effectiveness of our diplomacy in the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the precedent set for our dealings with China, North Korea, Iran and other nuclear capable nations. They also discuss the point at which the US economy cracks into a recession, the decision to take the military option off the table and how education is critical for the next generation of American leaders.

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About Newt Gingrich

TJP 52 | Speaker Of The HouseSpeaker Newt Gingrich is Chairman of Gingrich 360, a multimedia production and consulting company based in Arlington, Virginia.  As former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gingrich is well known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994, creating the first conservative majority in the House in 40 years.  He was a Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2012.

Gingrich is a Fox News contributor, podcast host (Newt’s World), and syndicated columnist.  He is the author of 41 books, including 18 fiction and nonfiction New York Times bestsellers.  His latest books include Beyond Biden: Rebuilding the America We Love and Trump and the American Future: Solving the Great Problems of Our Time.

Gingrich and his wife, Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries.  Recent films include “The First American” and “Divine Mercy: The Canonization of John Paul II.”

Recognized internationally as an expert on world history, military issues, and international affairs, Newt Gingrich is the longest-serving teacher of the Joint War Fighting course for Major Generals.  He also teaches officers from all six services as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at the National Defense University.  In addition, Newt Gingrich served as a Member of the Defense Policy Board.  He was a member of the Terrorism Task Force for the Council on Foreign Relations, and he co-chaired the Task Force on United Nations Reform, a bipartisan congressional effort to modernize and improve the United Nations.

The Gingrich’s reside in McLean, Virginia, and have two daughters and two grandchildren.

Newt’s World – Former Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

A nation asserts leadership and influence in a variety of ways. The Army taught me that a nation is defined by how effectively it leverages the four elements of national power, diplomatic, informational, military, and economic. The world order, which has stood since 1945, is now being tested in every corner of the globe. The results of international affairs are affecting our own economy here in America. Many days, it is hard to watch the news and make sense of it all.I’m joined on this episode by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, a political leader who has been at the forefront of national and international decision-making for decades. The speaker and I spoke strategy across the elements of national power, including the effectiveness of our diplomacy in the war between Russia and Ukraine and the precedent set for our dealings with China, North Korea, Iran, and other nuclear-capable nations. We broke down the effect on the economy, the ways to stem inflation, rising oil prices, and the point at which the US economy cracks into a recession. Speaker Gingrich questioned the decision to take the military option off the table and defined the danger of hoping for a good outcome. We spoke about the next generation of American leaders, the importance of investing in education, and what it means to be a superpower in the new world order. Regardless of which side of the aisle you sit on or what you believe in, America is greatest when we question each other, choose strategy over tactics, and lead from the front.

Mr. Speaker, welcome to the The Jedburgh Podcast.

I’m glad to be with you. I love the concept of trying to look at things strategically. I’m delighted with what you are doing.

I have a very strategic level, policy, and doctrine conversation lined up for us. No one knows more than you the importance of the term leadership matters. You have led this country for the better part of 60 years, seen America at its strongest, seen us at our most vulnerable and  been a strategic thinker at the national and the international domains. Now, we sit at a time that most of us don’t remember. Many of us have never experienced this.

There is strife and confusion at home. In the economy, there is a racial and ethnic divide. Safety and security are questioned in our own communities. We have brinkmanship abroad at a level which we may have possibly never seen. The world order, in many ways as we know it, as we have become accustomed to, is changing and being questioned. The world is watching our every move. Friend or foes are calculating their next move based on what we do. It is so hard to sit back and watch what is going on and not look for answers, take a stand, and take action.

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

Speaker Gingrich and Fran break down the current war between Ukraine and Russia along the Elements of National Power: diplomatic, informational, military and economic (DIME).

To have a discussion on the world now, we have to frame this in the context of what I learned as a Special Forces Officer, and that is what’s called the four elements of national power, Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic, or DIME for short. These elements are the tools by which a nation asserts its power and influence. It is how they effectively lead themselves and lead others. Now, leadership is challenged by world and domestic events across all of these elements.

You are a strategic thinker. I figured that these topics would be a prudent way to frame our conversation, and we would start primarily with diplomacy because that seems to be what so many of us are talking about now. It is our international efforts, treaty, or interaction abroad. I’m wondering from your perspective as you look at what is going on with leadership in terms of the situation in Ukraine, a potential war with Russia, our relationship with China, and proliferation by Iran and North Korea as they test our diplomatic prowess in every corner of the globe. To us, the normal person, it looks half-baked in so many ways. How do you assess our diplomatic efforts across these fronts over the past couple of months?

You have to start with the notion that diplomacy is inherently part of the executive branch. The president’s role as commander in chief makes any president preeminent in making these decisions, and the team that the president surrounds himself with shapes the options and the execution that defines results in the real world.

It’s almost hard to overstate the pathos of watching the most powerful nation in the world avoid providing leadership and lie about what it’s doing. Click To Tweet

 

What you have now is Barack Obama’s third term. There is a pattern when you get into third terms that all of the good people left and went to make money or went to do something else. You are left with the last stand of mediocrities, and that is what you are faced with. You have both in the Defense Department the degree to which the chair of the joint chiefs was wrong about Afghanistan and the degree to which he was publicly wrong about the Ukrainian campaign.

He and Putin both believed that the Russians would be in Kyiv in three days. He said so publicly, which even if he believed it, it was stupid to say it publicly because it had to undermine the morale of the Ukrainians, who luckily have learned to ignore Americans and don’t care what they say because they regard this administration as hopeless.

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

Biden himself, I presume, has a classically international view of the world from a left-wing standpoint and Bob Gates, the former Head of the CIA and former Secretary of Defense for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. There is a reason that Gates said that in 40 years. Biden had consistently been on the wrong side of every foreign policy issue and that is what you are seeing now.

It is hard to overstate the pathos of watching the most powerful nation in the world avoid providing leadership, lie about what it is doing, and for some reason, be so committed to creating Iran as a counterweight to Israel and so committed to having Russia as its partner doing that that no matter what Putin does, in the end, Biden relies on the Russians.

Historians will look back on this period. I suspect if there is a Republican Congress in 2023, they will have hearings on this because it is almost unimaginable how destructive the Biden Administration is being, how much it is weakening our role in the world, how much it is sending signals to dictatorships that they can get away with things, and how much human pain it is causing by its utter inability to be helpful to the Ukrainians in a way that would work.

We have made this situation or conflict now about Russia and Ukraine. You alluded to it. You referenced other dictators and nations in the world are watching this, but what precedent is this setting for China and China’s interaction with Taiwan, Iran, and North Korea? As they look at us, what is going through the minds of those leaders?

It is not just there, but virtually, every medium-sized country is going to conclude that they need to get nuclear weapons. If Ukraine had nuclear weapons, Russia couldn’t have attacked it. The idea of relying on us for our guarantee will be seen by most countries as such a weak position that the value of the American endorsement, at least while Biden is President, will be virtually useless.

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker Of The House newt Gingrich: “It’s unimaginable how destructive the Biden administration is being, how much it’s weakening our role in the world, sending signals to dictatorships that they can get away with things, and how much human pain it’s causing by its utter inability to be helpful to the Ukrainians in a way that would really work.”

 

I suspect the jury is out. My personal guess is that Biden will cave the second he has an excuse to do so that Putin will end up not conquering all of Ukraine, but getting agreement that he has Eastern Ukraine, that he keeps Crimea, and that Ukraine commits to what happened to Finland after 1939. They commit to being neutralized, having a much smaller military, and living in the shadow of Russia. Biden will declare a victory, find a way to drop all the sanctions, and go back to working with Putin.

If you look at the Iranian negotiations, we have the Russians right in the middle of providing leadership and the negotiations with the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism at the very moment that we claim that we want to isolate Russia. This is not incompetence. This is a worldview that wants to have a dramatically weaker America and Israel.

When you think about leadership, it comes to the front and center in times of crisis. The president, regardless of the opinion and polls on either side, rises to the fore. Everybody looks to the president for leadership and direction. We are seeing in this conflict three very different leaders, President Biden, Vladimir Putin, and Volodymyr Zelensky. You have worked with leaders at every level and capacity in all situations. When you look at these three individuals, how do you assess how they have handled this conflict?

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

”Putin is behaving like the Russian bear. Zelensky has proven that the Ukrainians are lions.”

I do three free newsletters every week at Gingrich 360. I did one on the bear, the lion, and the bunny rabbit. I said in the classic tradition of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 commercial that there was a bear in the woods, and Putin is behaving like the Russian bear. To the shock of everybody, the American Intelligence Community, which was wrong about Afghanistan and now has been wrong about the campaign in Ukraine, makes you wonder why we spend that many billion dollars on seventeen different intelligence agencies. Zelensky has proven that the Ukrainians are lions, and in a fight between the bear and the lions, the leader of the United States is a bunny rabbit hiding and pretending nothing is going on.

If you watched the emotion and the power of Zelensky’s speech to Congress and the flat, boring tone of what Biden read, it is appalling that this is a guy who doesn’t want to deal with this. He gave a fundraising speech to a democratic audience. He had one sentence that obliquely referred to Russia and Ukraine, and the rest of the speech was on climate change.

In the middle of a major war, disrupting the entire orderly structure that has existed since 1945, for a president of the States to have the opportunity for a major speech and not devote a large part of it to what’s happening in Ukraine and the threat of Russia, is because climate change is a greater threat. You may remember that John Kerry said that he certainly hoped that Putin would remember climate change as he invaded Ukraine.

You have to be close to committable as an insane person to have those kinds of attitudes, and that is what you are dealing with. This is a religion. As Theodore White said in 1972, “The ideology has become a theology. It’s not debatable.” If you are not of the true faith, then you can’t teach at Harvard, and you can’t serve in the Biden Administration.

We should understand why we want to be powerful. It's essentially a defensive position that protects this extraordinary country, and that protects our extraordinary freedoms in a world where all of them are in danger every single… Click To Tweet

 

They are limited to people whose limited contact with reality makes them impossible, but people should not think this is incompetence. The border is not open because they are incompetent. The failure to effectively arm the Ukrainians or the Taiwanese is not because they are incompetent. They are doing what they want to do and what they believe in, and that is the core background to remember.

I want to switch to Economic or E in DIME. Our economy has been jolted by COVID unemployment stimulus, supply chains shortages, and now, rapidly rising oil prices. We are effectively seeing the canceling of a superpower nation like Russia and were threatening China now with the same if they support Putin. There are calls in Europe to move the world currency away from the US dollar. How much shock can the US economy sustain before it cracks or launches into a recession?

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

“I’ll be very surprised if we aren’t in a recession by 2023.”

I will be very surprised if we are not in a recession by 2023. I lived through this with Jimmy Carter who had high unemployment and high inflation simultaneously. We called it stagflation. Reagan, when he campaigned in 1980, had a great line. He said, “When your brother-in-law is unemployed, it is a recession. When you are unemployed, it is a depression. When Jimmy Carter is unemployed, it is a recovery.” We have to recognize that inflation is out of control. It is going to get worse, not better. It is largely a function of having put too much paper money in while adopting policies, which limits supply.

If you are weakening the ability of the economy to produce goods and services while you increase the purchasing power, the inevitable result is inflation. The American economy will face substantial inflation. The difference between us and the rest of the world is, at least up until now, we have a pretty ruthless ability to weed out the weaker companies, encourage entrepreneurs, and invent the future pretty rapidly.

I would still bet on us, particularly over the Europeans or the Chinese, who have way too much state control and who can’t deal with the objective realities of a real market. I do think that it is almost inevitable now that between Biden’s antibusiness regulatory posture, their pro-tax increase posture, and their absolute hostility to things like the oil and gas industry combined with their desperate need to spend the money that they have to pay off their union allies and their big-city governments to function. As a result, they are pouring cash into the economy and accelerating the inflation rate. I don’t see any way out of it except to have a sufficiently strong tightening up that you are going to have a fairly significant recession in 2023.

You called for an Operation Warp Speed for energy independence. It was in an article you wrote. What does that look like? How do we begin that? How do we gain support for something like that?

All it would have to take is the president to repeal his various executive orders that were anti-oil and anti-gas. The fact is Biden inherited a country that was producing more energy than it was consuming. There was not a great position to replace Russia as the supplier of natural gas to Western Europe. That was in a position to drive down the cost of oil and gas, which harms the Russians as much as any single thing you can do, but Putin is making well over $1 billion a day in selling oil and gas on the world market.

That allows him to finance virtually all of his military and military adventurism. Nothing would do more to get his attention than to get the price of oil back down to where it was under Trump, which is about $46 a barrel. Look at the difference in the amount of money Russia gets between. The last time I looked, it was $115 a barrel. The difference is astonishing in terms of sheer profit to the Russian system.

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

”The non-commissioned officers, the sergeants, the warrant officers…they really drive the system.”

The M in DIME stands for Military. They say that the military force is the last line of diplomacy. You mentioned it, and it is talked about every day, but President Biden has been clear very publicly that we will not engage in direct military conflict with nuclear-armed nations. We have stayed on the sidelines, yet we are providing aid, and they can make an argument about the level of aid that we are providing. There was another $800 million and almost $1 billion approved. It is the question that you have to ask. We don’t support an even limited no-fly zone. Is the military option really off the table?

It is for this president. If you go back and look at Reagan, Reagan didn’t use the military very much, but he built it up to it was such a strong force that nobody wanted to test it. For example, now, we should be moving three divisions in Eastern Europe. The Pols and the Baltic states would love to have them. You don’t have to say, “We are going to fight.” You just have to say, “If it ever happens, we can fight.”

One of the great shocks has been the remarkable ineffectiveness of the Russian forces. It is very clear that they have not developed an NCO cadre capable of operating the way ours does. People do not realize it. As you know from your own background, the non-commissioned officers, the sergeants, and the warrant officers drive the system.

When you deal with a military in which the officers have to do the non-comms work, it is inherently a slower, weaker, and less effective military. When you also deal with the military, which has not had practical wartime experiences for a very long time, it turns out that they can’t do anything very complicated. They have been moderately effective in Syria because they have been running very small forces using their elite units, and asking them not to do very much is complicated. When you start trying to coordinate 80,000, 90,000, or 100,000 people, you have a different scale of complexity.

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

”I suspect (Xi Xingping) is asking himself ‘am I really as confident that the People’s Liberation Army could effectively cross 160 miles of The Taiwan Straits and be successful.”

People tend to forget that when we are able to send an expeditionary force to Iraq, we do something that nobody else on the planet can do. I suspect from Xi Jinping’s standpoint because he is a very smart, very tough guy. He is asking himself, “Am I really as confident that the People’s Liberation Army could effectively cross 160 miles of the Taiwan straits and be successful?” Remember, the Germans at their peak could not figure out how to cross 21 miles of the English Channel. One hundred sixty miles is a long amphibious operation unless you have total air and sea superiority. I suspect that in some ways, Xi Jinping may be a little more cautious, not a little more aggressive.

Are we buying time? I asked that question because in the military, if you ever briefed the term, hopefully, you are immediately given a zero and get kicked out of the room. It feels in so many ways that we are playing this game of hopefully that, hopefully, Putin will back down, be deposed, and someone who is more aligned with Western ideology will come in and replace him before he decides to use chemical or weapons of mass destruction. Do you get that impression?

If we don’t fix our education system, nothing will else will work. Click To Tweet

My view is that liberals deal with violence, whether it is a violent crime at home, terrorism, or people like Putin, almost as though they had seen The Lion King and thought that it was a documentary. They get up in the morning and think that lions and zebras are going to sing and dance together. Conservatives try to explain to them, “Lions eat zebras.” They go, “That is a sign that you do not get it. You are some right-wing reactionary.”

It is very likely that Biden has a deep down thought that there was a pretty good chance Putin would not attack. He failed to arm the Ukrainians and cut off economic aid from the International Monetary Fund for Russia because he did not want to “push him over the edge.” This notion was something that Hitler played on brilliantly in the late 1930s.

You have to look at the whole Iran negotiation and say to yourself, “Are these people crazy?” The answer is probably yes, and that is a real problem because they are taking a country, in the case of Iran, which is actively trying to kill American officials. It is firing missiles close to the American Consulate in Iraq. It has been labeled by the state department even under a Biden the leading supporter of terrorism in the world. It has given all of that. Why would you want to strengthen them, empower them, and give them greater capacity? This administration is determined to do it.TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

You may remember when Kerry had the original deal where they sent 1 billion not in US dollars, but in euros and Swiss francs. An airplane filled with 1 billion flew into Tehran, and Kerry was reassuring everybody, as a Secretary of state, that they are going to spend most of it improving the quality of life of their people. We know that is not true. They spent most of it building nuclear weapons and missiles and funding terrorism across the entire Middle East.

In a sense, the Kerry negotiations have made it possible to sustain the Houthis in Yemen on the ongoing civil war that they are engaged in. The Iranians are providing drones and other long-term missiles to the Houthis so that they can attack Saudi Arabia. In the middle of all that, the Biden Administration is so desperate to get an Iranian deal that it has brought the Russians in.

At the very time that Biden says Putin is a war criminal, it is Putin’s ambassador who is the leader in putting together this Iranian deal. You can’t explain all this. This is not incompetence. This is an ideological worldview, which is extraordinarily dangerous and runs a real risk of degenerating into a major war.

The I in DIME is Informational. I want to tie this into leadership more broadly, especially in this country. Much of our information comes from our leader’s ability to communicate. You are one of the greatest communicators of our time. You led this country as part of a generation that saw firsthand the effects of tyranny across the world.

You took over willingly from the greatest generation, and you created a world in which my generation knows nothing more than prosperity, safety, and comfort, and for my generation looks to yours and continues to do so to this day to solve our problems. It is time in my mind for my generation to stand up and lead.

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

“It’s not so much superpower in the arrogant sense as it is sustaining a capability to ensure that freedom and safety survive.”

You look around and see other countries putting my generation of leaders into their senior positions like Canada, England, France, Italy, Germany, and even Ukraine, and yet now, we are questioned by so much of the world. Ukrainian soldiers have questioned our status as a superpower and our leadership. When you look at the next generation of leaders in America, what do they need to effectively retain the superpower status of this nation and carry us forward for the next 20, 40, or 50 years?

It is not so much being a superpower in the arrogant sense as it is sustaining a capability to ensure that freedom and safety survive and that the American people can be prosperous, safe, and free. The consequence of that would be the most powerful country in the world, but we should understand why we want to be powerful. It is a defensive position that protects this extraordinary country and our extraordinary freedom in a world where all of them are in danger every single day.

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

”I would say the number one challenge we have is the education system because we are literally not producing people today capable of competing with the Chinese.”

This may surprise you. The number one challenge we have is the education system because we are not producing people now capable of competing with the Chinese. If we don’t fix our education system, nothing else will work. I would start there and develop a lot of other things from that point. We need to in-source back home a lot of the manufacturing capabilities that we had cheerfully sent to China. We have to have a very tough attitude about the Chinese efforts to penetrate our society. We want to build the biggest possible coalition.

We have had an extraordinary ability to have allies, and we should remember that. Since the Civil War, with the singular exception of the Spanish-American War, we do not fight wars without allies. That gives us an enormous advantage over all of our various competitors. We want to continue that. We also have to dramatically accelerate in space where we are being saved by people like Elon Musk despite the government and we have to understand the emerging new technologies of cyber, quantum, electromagnetic pulse, artificial intelligence, and nanoscale science.

There are a lot of cutting-edge things out there that if we are not very careful, we will have a big, cumbersome bureaucratic national security system incapable of modernizing because it threatens too many people’s soft, comfortable, and traditional position. We have more work to do now than at any time since 1941 in terms of trying to get this country back on its feet and get it focused on being effective and competent.

As we close out, you and I were talking about the Jedburghs before we started this. The Jedburghs had to do three things every day to win or to be successful in their plight in France against the Germans. They had to be able to shoot, communicate, and move. If they did these three things as core foundational tasks with the utmost precision, their energy or focus could be focused on other challenges that came their way. In your career or in your life, I’m wondering about the three things that you do every day to set the conditions for your success. I ask all my guests this.

We need to in-source back home. Click To Tweet

 

I’m not sure that I can identify three. First of all, I read 3 to 6 hours a day to try to keep up with what is going on. I’m very fortunate because I have a guy named Terry Balderson, who is a retired Research Director who got very bored and decided that he would be my voluntary research director. He gets up very early every morning, scans the internet, and sends me between 1 and 200 interesting things to look at every single day, plus all the normal correspondence.

First, it is intaking information. Second, I have a very serious process, which I learned partly from Peter Drucker, Edwards Deming and partly from the Army’s training and doctrine command. They are two very different things. One is that leadership is a forward system of listening, learning, helping, and leading. It is in that order.

TJP 52 l Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s Three Daily Foundations to Success: Read 3-6 hours per day to remain informed; have a defined process for Listening, Learning, Helping and Leading to plan around vision, strategy, projects and tasks; focus each day on the most important tasks to bring value to a cause.

The second is the planning starts with a vision and then strategies, projects, and tasks. Every day, I go through those two patterns. If I had a third thing, it would be that I see every day as a gift from God. I ask myself, “What am I doing now that justifies me being here?” I try to consistently reorient myself to the most important and critical tasks so that I can maximize my helpfulness. That is as close as I can come to answering what you asked.

Those three are perfect. Read to keep up with events and intake information. Have a defined, serious process of listening, learning, helping, and leading. Plan, vision, strategy, project, and tasks right out of the doctrine, and every day, understand why we are here. Focus on the most critical tasks. The nine characteristics of elite performance as defined by Special Operations Command are used to recruit, assess, and select all Special Operators regardless of their branch.

They are one of our core values here on the show. It is drive, resiliency, adaptability, humility, integrity, curiosity, team ability, effective intelligence, and emotional strength. Every one of the guests that I have exhibits all of these and their ability to perform their tasks every single day and achieve the success that they have. I take one of them and think about the conversation we had and my guests. I say, “When I think about you, this resonates with me.”

I think about effective intelligence for you because effective intelligence is an aggregate sum of our experiences that we put together, and we allow that to shape our future actions, decision process, and perspective on the world, and we share that with others. You have been a leader in this country for a long time. We are so grateful for your leadership for all these years. You have chosen so many times strategy over tactics and put this country at the top of the world in so many different ways. I thank you for your time, leadership, and service.

Thank you for doing this thing. It was a great concept.

 

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