Monday, January 10, 2005

At least Newt seems to get it

With Islamists in mind, Gingrich mulls 2008 presidential run

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Trailblazing ideologue Newt Gingrich, who engineered the 1994 Republican takeover of the US House of Representatives, said he may run for president in 2008, promising to fight what he calls "an Islamist insurgency against the modern world."

He also spoke about a need to center US society around religious values formulated by "our Creator."

Aspirations of the former House speaker have been an enigma in the US capital since his 1998 resignation from Congress following his party's losses in mid-tern elections.

But when asked on the "Fox News Sunday" television show if a presidential run was in his plans, Gingrich answered: "I'm not ruling that out."

The darling of US conservatives did not elaborate, but he already has something resembling an electoral platform: his book "Winning the Future," which goes on sale Monday.

The mid-sized tome promotes what is being described as Gingrich's vision of America's greatness in the 21st century, including his plan for winning the war on terror, re-establishing God in American public life, reforming the underfunded Social Security (news - web sites) pension system, restoring patriotism, and making US health care more accessible.

In a portion of the book made available to AFP, Gingrich argues the United States faces two immediate opponents: "the irreconcilable wing of Islam" and dictatorships that, in his words, empower radical Islamists.

But in contrast with President George W. Bush (news - web sites), who insists that Muslim radicals are driven by their hatred of Western values, Gingrich believe the world is witnessing a global civil war between the modernizing and irreconcilable wings of Islam.

"This war is not primarily about terrorism," he writes, "It is about an Islamist insurgency against the modern world."

According to the former speaker, between 39 million and 52 million young men -- out of a total of 1.3 billion Muslims around the world -- could become available to Islamist recruiters as the war on terror grinds on.

Because of that, he predicts, the fight could continue for the next 20-25 years at best, or drag on for several centuries, as did the Catholic-Protestant wars during the Reformation and Counter Reformation.

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