Search This Blog

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Arms Control?

Today, I did a lot of shopping and am too tired to blog much.

For a good take on the Libya deal, go read Abu Aardvark. The Aardvark and I tend to agree about the importance of the nonproliferation regime (i.e., arms control).
First, this is definitely a positive development, one which would help to strengthen multilateral arms control as a way of providing for international security. Libya has long been identified as one of the states which has resisted such transparency, and has often described the international regime against the proliferation of WMD as a conspiracy by the powerful to keep the weak weak. Its acceptance, even rhetorically, of the legitimacy of the prohibition is a positive step to be rewarded and built upon.

Second, that said, it isn't an enormously big deal, in that Libya has not posed any real threat for a long time.
It's a big stretch to argue that the Iraq war or the arrest of Saddam somehow pushed Qaddafi into this deal.
Libya has been seeking international rehabilitation for a number of years, desperate to get rid of the UN sanctions, and has been aggressively pursuing it via the Lockerbie investigation for several years. This fairly obviously means that the new Libyan approach can not be a result of the Iraq war, since the new approach predates that war (and the Bush administration).

So, final score: good news for multilateral arms control, a positive step towards integrating a 'rogue' regime back into international society, but not really evidence in favor of the Iraq war. Compare the British spin to the American spin, and you'll see what I mean.

Let's be clear: what Bush has accomplished here is to get Libya to accept exactly the kind of robust international inspections which his administration roundly denounced as useless in Iraq - while leaving Qaddafi in power, after insisting in Iraq that only a regime change could possibly guarantee security. In other words, this 'success' in Libya is a direct repudiation of everything which the Bush team argued for in Iraq, and a vindication of his multilateralist arms control critics.
I couldn't have made these points much better myself -- so I won't try.

No comments:

Post a Comment