A Couple Of Overlooked Details

Justin Logan writes at Cato at Liberty:

Can We Negotiate with Odious Regimes?

It appears that in the case of Libya, the answer is yes.

After more than twenty years, the US is restoring normal diplomatic relations with the regime of Muammar Khaddafi. Well before the Iraq War, the US government had opened a diplomatic dialogue with Tripoli to work toward dismantling its WMD programs. The two reached an agreement, and have now normalized relations. This notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Khaddafi’s government remains rather ugly and reprehensible in ways too numerous to count.

It’s a lesson we should keep in mind, particularly with respect to certain other US relationships in the news today. We can negotiate with odious regimes.

And sometimes, good can come of it.

Is it of particular importance to point out

1) That the US government bombed Libya in 1986 killing Khaddafi's daughter and nearly killing Khaddafi himself?

2) That Khaddafi has been relatively well behaved since that time?

3) That the US government just took over two countries and changed their regimes?

Are these facts relevant? If so, might the lesson be that yes, negogiation with odious regimes is possible, but only coupled with the threat of violent conflict hovering in the background? What else would there be to bargain about?

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Of course, it might also be

Of course, it might also be related to the fact that Khaddafi had no credible weapons programs to give up, is a basically a serial loser on the international scene (Remember the invasion of Chad? Remember his bid to have Libya heading the AU?), and picked a moment when the US was most in need of a foreign policy success to come knocking on the door asking for concessions in exchange for handshakes (and a couple of convenient patsies for the Lockarbie thing).

Khaddafi is perhaps the best example of an overblown "fake enemy" that one could ask for. He has next to zero actual accomplishments -- none at all recently -- but a fearsome reputation and a talent for short-lived PR stunts. He picked an opportune moment to make nice with the US, but that's hardly a credit or loss to the US or to him.

Grant, Is that why they


Is that why they destroyed his mustard gas set up?

and his uranium centrifuges?

Interesting to note that Iran apologists keep saying US assistance in a 1953 coup is enough to justify all of Iran's bad works...and yet Qaddafi could even lose a family member and still come to terms with us.