WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Although former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he still considers himself a staunch neoconservative, he is pulling back his faith in America’s ability to export democracy to the Middle East.

“I am a neoconservative. But at some point, even if you are a neoconservative, you need to take a deep breath to ask if our strategies in the Middle East have succeeded,” the Gingrich said in an interview published Sunday in the Washington Times.

The Georgia Republican has long held an interventionist approach with U.S. foreign policy. He frequently touts his pro-Israel views, and during his failed 2012 presidential campaign he called Palestinians an “invented” people.

Gingrich supported the American-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, but now says that the U.S. ability to export democracy must be re-thought, and strategy in the Middle East should change direction. Gingrich also took a jab at the America’s “63-year engagement” with North Korea.

“It may be that our capacity to export democracy is a lot more limited than we thought,” he told the Washington Times. “My worry about all this is not new. But my willingness to reach a conclusion is new.”

Gingrich also expressed a willingness to embrace a more libertarian-minded, anti-interventionist approach to foreign policy that has been proposed by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

A longtime critic of neoconservative foreign policy, Paul argues that war is a last resort and should never occur as a form of nation-building like that seen during the Bush administration.

Writing in a June 24 column for the Washington Times, Paul wrote: “Well, guess what, after 12 years, trillions of dollars, more than 2,200 Americans killed, and perhaps more than 50,000 dead Afghan civilians and fighters, the Taliban is coming back anyway!”


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