Lately, the Bush administration and its neo-conservative supporters have been crowing about how President Bush's hard-line foreign policy caused Muammar Qaddafi to end his unconventional (biological, chemical and nuclear) weapons programs and open them to international inspections. They have also been implying that the tough U.S. policy will continue to make bad regimes capitulate. But the gains from Qaddafi's abandonment of such programs are mostly symbolic. In contrast, the president's aggressive foreign policy has made the danger of a terrorist attack greater than at any time since the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Much has been made of the timing of Qaddafi's first overture to negotiate an end to his unconventional weapons programs -- in March of this year, shortly before the United States invaded Iraq. Although the imminent U.S. invasion may have prompted Qaddafi's feelers to bargain away his weapons efforts, Qaddafi has been trying to mend fences with the United States and the West for a decade. Five years ago, he turned over two Libyans for trial in the terrorist bombing of flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988; recently, he agreed to pay reparations for the incident. British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted that Qaddafi's disarmament initiative arose from the success of those negotiations. Also, for several years Libya has eschewed terrorist attacks. And it is probably no coincidence that negotiations to end Libyan unconventional weapons programs accelerated only after the United States agreed to allow the United Nations to end economic sanctions against Libya. Qaddafi most likely wanted to see some gains from his years of efforts to reconcile with the West before he made any more concessions.
Moreover, Qaddafi has watched as the Bush administration was accused of hyping evidence about the threat of Iraqi unconventional weapons to justify the war and became bogged down in a Middle Eastern guerrilla quagmire -- both of which make the probability of a U.S. invasion of Libya over its weapons programs much less likely. Also, Qaddafi has seen the Bush administration's initial tough line toward the North Korean nuclear program melt into a much milder policy than that of the Clinton administration. In 1994, President Clinton had threatened war unless the North Korean regime froze its nuclear program. In the wake of North Korea's subsequent admission of cheating on the nuclear freeze agreement and withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Bush administration is now making noises about negotiating an end to North Korea's nuclear program in return for a normalization of relations with that nation -- the right policy but hardly a hard-line policy that would send shivers down Qaddafi's spine.
What did Qaddafi concede? He apparently had stockpiles of crude chemical weapons, a primitive biological weapons program and a fledgling nuclear program. Although Qaddafi's renunciation of such weapons is a positive development, Libya's ability to produce any of them has been undermined by the sanctions and Qaddafi's purges of scientists. Thus, Qaddafi probably concluded that the minimal losses from giving up his crude weapons efforts would be more than offset by the economic rewards of playing "reformed dictator" poster boy in the Bush administration's public relations efforts to defend hard-line policies in the Middle East, which lately have been under fire. So vanquishing the overrated "Libyan threat" is less of an accomplishment than meets the eye.
Meanwhile those truculent Bush administration policies are likely to pose the very real danger of "blowback" to Americans everywhere from an enraged Islamic world. Tom Ridge, the president's own secretary of homeland security, raised the U.S. alert level and announced that the danger of a terrorist attack, possibly in the United States, is "perhaps greater now than at any point since September 11, 2001." Despite the firestorm in even the mainstream media when Howard Dean perceptively noted that the capture of Saddam Hussein had not made the United States any safer, the administration now seems to be confirming that fact. And, when polled, 60 percent of Americans also agreed with Dean's view. Thus, the hard-line Bush administration foreign policy toward the Middle East likely will reap only symbolic gain but very real pain.
Ivan Eland is the Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California and author of the book, Putting "Defense" Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World.
To try Neo-cons and hang them, you will have defeat and conquer US; currently an impossibility.
We tried Nazis & Japanese; they were defeated and they surrendered without conditions. We tried Milosovich, because Serbs were defeated. We might try Sadam, because he has been defeated and captured. You can't try Osama because he has not been defeated.
It is the victors who try the vanquished.
As usual, some people write without doing any thinking.
If the Bomb Is So Easy to Make, Why Don't More Nations Have It?
By GREGG EASTERBROOK
Published: January 4, 2004
LIBYA has pledged to dismantle its atomic weapons program. That is obviously good news, in addition to being a victory for George W. Bush's aggressive foreign policy. But what, exactly, is Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi giving up? Not much.
"Libya was in no position to obtain access to nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future," says a statement by the Federation of American Scientists, an independent group that tracks arms control issues. After visiting Libya last week, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, declared the country's program at "very much at an early stage." Libya may be closing down its nuclear program because it wasn't working anyway.
This points to an important reality about nuclear weapons: they are extremely difficult to make. Claims that bomb plans can be downloaded from the Internet, or that fissile material is easily obtained on the black market and slapped together into an ultimate weapon, seem little more than talk-radio jabber. Nations like Libya that have made determined attempts to obtain atomic munitions have not even come close.
THE UN MUST BE ALLOWED TO INSPECT ALL ITS WMD
IF U.S. OBJECTS, BUSH AND THE NEOCONS MUST BE PUT ON TRIAL AND HUNG, along w/ the zionists.
NO DOUBLE STANDARDS SHOULD BE ALLOWED.
The only country in the region which needs to be stripped bare of all WMD is obviously Israel, and since that isnt going to happen, the course is clear for those who wish to avoid becoming victims of the phony "war on terrorism" TM.
SGT Omar Masry
H.A. "...may not get there with you..", but "...I have a dream..." The land of the braves and its "brave" contents will enjoy the fruits of its own making.
India, for example, tested its first nuclear weapon in 1974. India's concern over national security was heightened in the late 1950s and through the 1960s due to border disagreements with China. By 1962, both New Delhi and Beijing deployed massive numbers of troops on each other's borders. When it became clear that China was close to testing a nuclear weapon, it only heightened India's desire to match China's increase in power. After India's defeat by Chinese forces in the Indo-Chinese war in 1962, the Jana Singh party advocated in parliament what would become the first formal demand for nuclear weapons.
India's development of nuclear weapons would soon spark the nuclear program in the neighboring state of Pakistan. After losing East Pakistan in its humiliating defeat in the 1971 war with India, Islamabad recognized the need to increase its regional power. After India's first nuclear test in 1974, Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto demanded that Pakistan now had to develop its own "Islamic bomb" to secure the country's interests. Finally, in May 1998, Pakistan announced that it had conducted five successful nuclear tests.
This reality makes it clear that powerful non-nuclear states -- such as Iran, North Korea, or possibly even Saudi Arabia -- will consider nuclear weapons to be an important component in the protection of their national interests. As long as the conditions that cause a state to develop nuclear weapons exist, nuclear non-proliferation laws may be of little use in stopping the spread of this form of weaponry.
USA is fighting a lost battle.
Did Libya lose anything?. No, Libya did not lose anything. Libya never had any functional weapons and there was little possibility that she was going to achieve any in the forseeable future.
Sorry, USA; just a phoney victory.