December 20, 2003

NEW YORK TIMES: “BUSH WAS RIGHT!”

Over the past five years, by turning over two suspects for trial, acknowledging its complicity in the Lockerbie bombing and paying compensation to victims’ families, Libya finally managed to persuade the United Nations Security Council to lift the international sanctions that had shadowed its economy and its international reputation for more than a decade. Those sanctions were lifted in September. This page recommended lifting American sanctions as well, but President Bush left them in place pending further steps, most notably Libya’s decision to end its unconventional weapons programs. It is now clear that he was right to do so. The added American pressure worked just as intended.

It’s another Festivus miracle!

Meanwhile Winds of Change looks at the contrasts between Bush and Dean on foreign policy.

And, though not really related, don’t miss their roundup of China news, either. And don’t miss Tim Blair’s roundup of gullible, plastic-turkey-swallowing journalists. Gobble, gobble.

UPDATE: Wow, here’s an Iranian connection to the Libyan WMD program — did I hear someone say “axis of evil?”

The team was made up of North Korean scientists, engineers and technicians, as well as some Iranian and Libyan nuclear scientists.

North Korea and Iran, originally dubbed by Bush as the axis of evil along with Iraq, avoided detection by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inspectors by each member farming out vital sections of its projects to its fellow members.

Iran, which is now in the final stages of uranium enrichment for its program, is badly hit, having counted on fitting into place key parts of its WMD project made in Libya. North Korea may also be forced to scale back the production of nuclear devices as well as counting the loss of a lucrative source of income for its Scuds and nuclear technology.

Yeah, I thought so. And this seems to be quite the military/diplomatic success for the Administration, proving once again that you get more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.

More on Libya here and here: “I guess a ‘spider hole’ didn’t sound all that good to Mr. Gadhafi.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: And here’s more:

Libya’s promise to surrender its weapons of mass destruction was forced by Britain and America’s seizure of physical evidence of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s illegal weapons programme, the Telegraph can reveal.

United States officials say that America’s hand was strengthened in negotiations with Col Gaddafi after a successful operation, previously undisclosed, to intercept transport suspected of carrying banned weapons. . . .

One Cabinet minister said: “It demonstrates that change can be brought about by standing tough. There is no question that this change of heart by Gaddafi was brought about by the fact that the US and Britain were seen to be standing up to and called Saddam Hussein’s bluff.”

Indeed.

UPDATE: Charles Paul Freund observes:

In that context, it may be worth recalling this story from earlier this year. It appeared in Britain’s Telegraph on April 9 (which, according to the reported timeline, is shortly after Gaddafi approached Britain) and quotes an Italian official on the Libyan leader’s response to the Iraq war.

“A spokesman for Mr Berlusconi said the prime minister had been telephoned recently by Col Gaddafi of Libya, who said: ‘I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.'”

Indeed, again. Meanwhile this is interesting:

Saddam Hussein was personally directing the post-war insurgency inside Iraq, playing a far more active role than previously thought, American intelligence officers have concluded since his capture.

Despite the bewildered appearance of the deposed dictator when he was hauled from his hiding-hole last weekend, he is believed to have been issuing regular instructions on targets and tactics through five trusted lieutenants.

This conclusion could have serious implications for his status in United States custody. American officials have made clear that he will lose his rights as a prisoner of war if he was involved in the post-war violence.

Hmm. Stay tuned.

MORE: Colby Cosh has some observations, including this one: “Saddam is dragged out of a living grave and told that the president sends his regards, and within a week, Gadhafi, one of the most comparable figures in the World Atlas of Thuggery, is voluntarily installing red carpet for a weapons inspectorate. Talk about a wacky coincidence, eh?”

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