Winning the Argument About the Third World War

One week ago, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” I described the scale of terrorist attacks and plots, world conflicts, and the hostile declarations by rogue states and their pursuit of nuclear weapons as an emerging Third World War. In the intervening week I have taken advantage of a number of opportunities to set out in detail why I believe it is so important that America confront this reality.

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One skeptic I encountered — at least initially — was Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s “Today Show.”

Lauer began our interview with a quote from an academic who claims that America has no option other than to force Israel into an immediate cease-fire with the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas terrorist alliance that is attacking it on two fronts.

I responded by saying why I believe this is exactly the wrong option. The fact is that the members of the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance have no interest in negotiation. The Iranian dictator has announced his intention to defeat America and wipe Israel off the map. Hezbollah and Hamas are similarly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared on April 9, 2000, “The Jews invented the legend of the Nazi atrocities,” and further argued, “Anyone who reads the Koran and the holy writings of the monotheistic religions sees what they did to the prophets, and what acts of madness and slaughter the Jews carried out throughout history … Anyone who reads these texts cannot think of co-existence with them, of peace with them, or about accepting their presence, not only in Palestine of 1948 but even in a small village in Palestine, because they are a cancer which is liable to spread again at any moment.”

And then I used an analogy to dealing with such people that seemed to hit home. I said to Matt: “When we were faced with this in World War II, Matt, we didn’t say, ‘Let’s negotiate with Adolph Hitler. I’m sure we can find reasonable grounds for only having half of a Holocaust.’

“We said Hitler’s regime was evil, that we had to have total victory, and we were very clear about that.”

A Map That Is Worth a Thousand Words

Did I convince Matt Lauer that we are in the early stages of a new world war? I’m not sure, but what happened next surely convinced many Americans that all civilized countries face a global threat. “Today Show” viewers saw on the screen a remarkable map showing the arc of terrorist attacks worldwide from irreconcilable and violent Islamic terror groups. The map also showed those rogue regimes that are actively seeking weapons of mass destruction with which to threaten the United States. Click here for a similar map.

It begins in North Korea on our Independence Day, when an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the Western Coast of the United States was fired — with Iranian observers present for the launch. It moves on through Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand, where there have been several terrorist operations, to India, where seven bombs exploded two weeks ago.

The pattern of global Islamic terrorist threats and attacks picks up again in the war in Afghanistan and into the Middle East, where the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance is not only waging war against Israel but also operating in Iraq, killing our troops as well as innocent Iraqi civilians, in an attempt to destroy any chance that a free Iraqi government will succeed.

The arc continues through Britain, where two more Islamic organizations were banned as terrorist groups just last week. Then it crosses the Atlantic to Canada, where, according to a remarkable article in Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations is urging Muslims not to cooperate in terrorism investigations.

And finally, the global threat comes to the United States, where, according to the article in IBD, the Department of Homeland Security is investigating a pipebomb found in Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans as part of a plot to shut down commerce on a critical waterway. Experts also say that the recent plot to blow up New York City tunnels had a “good chance of success.”

‘We Can Drown These Guys’

In the meantime, I will continue my efforts to define the nature and scale of the conflict that we confront — widespread terrorist attacks, uncovered plots of violence, credible threats by rogue states and terrorist groups to develop or acquire nuclear weapons in order to defeat us and our allies. And you should know that I do so fully aware that many Americans are understandably less-than-ready to believe that we face such fundamental threats to our nation and our freedom. The whole situation seems so depressing, they tell me. And they ask: Is there any hope?

And my answer, which is firmly grounded in our nation’s history and in my own unshakable belief in America’s greatness, is yes, there is hope — great hope. As Americans, we have been in this spot before. The beginning of World War II was tough. The beginning of the Civil War was tough. But there is no doubt that Americans, once we come to understand the nature and scale of the challenge we face, can and will mobilize the will, the creativity and the energy necessary for victory. As I told Bill O’Reilly last week on Fox News, “We can drown these guys.” And we will.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. — In case you missed it, Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich had a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post last week announcing his change of heart with regard to our ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. Sen. Voinovich, you will recall, opposed Bolton’s nomination in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year and Ambassador Bolton was given only an interim appointment by President Bush.

That appointment expires this fall, and Sen. Voinovich has announced that he now supports Ambassador Bolton. He wrote:

“Recently, despite our nation’s best efforts, the world — and particularly the Middle East — has become a more dangerous and volatile place … Should the President send [Bolton’s] re-nomination to the Senate, I will vote to confirm him, and I call on my Democratic colleagues to keep in mind the current situation in the Middle East and the rest of the world should the Senate have an opportunity to vote. I do not believe the United States, at this dangerous time, can afford to have a UN ambassador who does not have Congress’s full support.”

I urge the Senate to confirm Ambassador Bolton’s re-nomination before adjourning this fall.

Ask Newt

Each week, this newsletter features questions from its readers. Have a question? Send an email to Newt at

Newt, I am a believer that first and foremost we need to find an alternative to oil … My question is will the President or the American people have the will and discipline to deal with this issue, to take this oil leverage from the terrorists?

—Bill E.
Chicago, Ill.

Thanks for the question, Bill. I believe America must move away from its reliance upon foreign oil as soon as possible, especially oil from unstable governments. Moreover, I agree with you that we must find alternatives to oil by investing in new technologies to produce safe, clean, reliable, efficient and inexpensive fuels here at home. The recent high cost of oil and the instability in the Middle East should provide the political will and financial incentive to do just that.

In fact, just this week, I sent my policy director Vince Haley on a bio-renewable fuels fact-finding mission in the Midwest.

As an economic and national security priority, we should seek to diversify our energy sources to include not only renewable fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel, but also shale oil, clean-coal technologies, nuclear power, and I would include expanded domestic oil and natural gas production in the mix. While we have largely banned drilling off the Florida coast, Cuba, with the help of China, is drilling within 50 miles of our shores.

I’m optimistic that with a significant national investment in research for renewable fuels, including hydrogen, diversifying our energy sources and building vehicles that can run on multiple fuels, the day we can be truly self-reliant for our energy needs will come sooner rather than later.

It would also be far safer and cheaper protecting our energy production at home than overseas. Moreover, the money spent on energy produced at home would stay at home and not end up funding terrorism. I would much rather rely on American farmers and scientists to deliver safe, clean, reliable and inexpensive energy as opposed to relying on the Saudis, the Russians and Hugo Chavez for oil.

Bill, with American ingenuity, I am confident that we can get to a brighter energy future.