International News 3130 Views by H. Y. Nahm

Newt Gingrich linked to the Psychology of Insecurity

Newt Gingrich’s calls for a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea and Kim Jong-il’s threats to attack South Korea remind us, as we move at the end of this holiday season, that the world remains an oppressive place place for much of humanity.

Newt Gingrich knows better than most politicians that the first half of the GOP presidential primaries will turn on impressing the weakest and most economically insecure GOP voters. He knows how to tap into that insecurity with tough talk that gives the frustrated working poor a sense of grandiose geopolitical empowerment. He did it in the 1990s with tough talk directed against China and its exports. He’s doing it today with tough talk directed against N. Korea and Iran.

Threatening talk that violates the sense of security important to human beings has been the hallmark of demagogues and tyrants throughout history, be they German, Japanese, Russian, American or N. Korean.

Gingrich’s spiritual kin Kim Jong-il, too, knows how to leverage his nation’s desperate circumstances to undermine the sense of security of people around him. Too scared of reform and too incompetent to feed his people, he has learned at his father’s knees to use and export fear and insecurity to keep henchmen, oppressed subjects and nervous neighbors in line. A constant stream of wild threats, punctuated by occasional acts of violence, have convinced the world — especially Newt Gingrich — that he has the means and the intention to set off some form of conflagration. That fear is feeding a respectable industry seeking to address that threat with missile defense systems, AWACS planes, artillery-tracing systems, stealthy bombers and the like.

Apparently, Gingrich is convinced that N. Korea, Iran or some other power will throw the US back into a pre-industrial age in a single stroke with a preemptive EMP (electromagnetic pulse) strike. As he sees it, that can be achieved by detonating a nuclear missile high above the American midwest. So he’s been talking up the importance of launching our own first strike against N. Korea and Iran to destroy their ability to strike first.

Of course for most rational Americans the worst possible nightmare would be having Newt Gingrich sitting in the White House with Kim Jong-il sitting in one of his two dozen palaces scattered across N. Korea or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sitting in Sa’dabad Palace — all three with access to various means of threatening and attacking other nations.

The jarring sense of discord that most of us feel every time we get an insight into the minds of our own demagogues and foreign tyrants reminds us just why the holidays mean so much to so many. It’s an island of security warmed by the strength of our families and society in a world filled with people determined to keep us in touch with our most irrational insecurities.

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