Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Deal with Libya

Libya reached a deal over the bombing of Pan AM 103 before the current administration was in office. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that neither the policies of the Bush administration nor the war in Iraq explain that change in Libyan behavior. What appears to explain it is the regime of international sanctions that the United States, Great Britain and France put in place on Libya through the UN in the early 1990s. The recent agreement over Libya’s WMD is a continuation of this process. Did the war in Iraq help persuade Libya to give up its weapons? Yes, probably. Was the war in Iraq the sole cause of the Libyan decision? No, probably.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Not the sole cause, but the sufficient cause in that it was the last in a series of causes. It was probably the straw the broke the camel’s back. What else can explain the timing of the development, if not the capture of Hussein? That is all that those who attribute this effect to Hussein’s capture are saying, as far as I can determine.

I’m a little skeptical that the war in Iraq had anything to do with this. Has there ever been any serious discussion in American political circles about invading Libya over similar concerns of terrorism or WMD? It seems that all the potential military action has focused on North Korea or Iraq, or more seriously on Syria.

Goodness gracious! You don’t think that the sight of Saddam Hussein in the hole in the ground focused the mind of Khaddafy? And why have the sanctions taken so long to have an effect, and why now?

I suspect David’s analysis is correct. However, there is such as thing as spectacle in politics, and the timing of the Libyan announcement has the appearance of being connected closely with Bush’s aggressive policy, and is perceived that way by much of the public. Machiavelli would surely approve Bush lending this interpretation to the event. It strengthens the U.S. hand at the moment, doesn’t it?

Richard, I never said it was the sanctions that worked. I’m not sure WHAT did. I have to agree that regardless of what worked, Bush is smart to put that type of spin on it, as Steve Hayward points out. I just find it odd that Libya was largely unmentioned (not a part of the Axis of Evil) and now they are supposedly giving up their WMD’s. It just seems very suspicious, on Khaddafy’s part. If he actually is giving up his weapons programs, I wonder if the Bush administration made it clear to him in private the he was next? But with the way our State Department treated Syria after we invaded Iraq, I find that doubtful.

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