One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

What we’re forgetting about our new friend Muammar

The Post is right to question the precipitousness of the Bush Administration’s embrace of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.  Washington’s historic problem with the dictator was primarily his tendency, in the earlier half of his 39-year reign, to support terrorism; his renunciation, or at least veering away from, these tactics seems credible, and the administration is right to use carrots as well as sticks in its campaign to convince other countries that abetting terrorism is not a productive policy.  Of course, declaring the “Global War on Terror” to begin with — and waging it with such a determined black-and-white worldview — was what made such delineation of “good guys” and “bad guys” necessary in the first place, but that is a different topic.  For now, we can accept that influencing Gaddafi’s behavior away from terrorism can in fact a positive accomplishment of the Bush administration legacy.

But not so fast…not only, as the Post editorial correctly points out, is Gaddafi’s Libya still an overtly repressive environment for human right, but he also — and this is what Gaddafi should probably be known for, more than his support for international terrorism — remains eager to involve himself deeply in the affairs of his neighboring countries.  Most of us in the U.S. are unfamiliar or unconcerned with the regional politics of North and East Africa, but Gaddafi’s machinations there have played a large part in bringing about the death and corruption that has scarred too much of that part of the world for too long.

Muammar Gaddafi is a man who for years pushed aggressively for a union of his country with Egypt and Sudan; who fought a war over a tiny piece of worthless Saharan land called the Aozou Strip; and who propelled foul dictators to power in Chad and Sudan as if those countries were his playthings.  It is not mere coincidence that many of these excursions were based out of Darfur, that area of western Sudan now well-populated with rebel forces of all kinds.  Ultimately, Gaddafi’s various interferences in the politics of his neighbors wreaked far more damage on U.S. interests — and on a stable and peaceful world — than that plane he blew up over Lockerbie.  While tragic, that incident was but one.  Gaddafi’s quieter manipulations, confined to his own sphere, may go more unnoticed, but, given his interest in brokering peace in Darfur, I am too cynical to believe that he has completely given up this strategy.

September 7, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. […] tacitly supported various rebel groups in Darfur, Muammar Qaddafi, Libyan “leader” and historic regional manipulator, has now set his sights on that grand-daddy of conflicts: “the so-called Middle East […]

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  2. […] setting aside his penchant for regional meddling (not to mention for concocting bizarre Middle Eastern beverages peace proposals), the selection of […]

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