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Qaddafi

December 27th, 2003

Kevin Drum sees the deal with Qaddafi as a victory for the ‘Bush doctrine’, saying

there are downsides to the Bush Doctrine, lots of them, and that’s why I don’t support it. But there are also upsides, and Libya’s transformation appears to be one of them. Acknowledging that doesn’t make you soft on Bush, it just means you’re willing to acknowledge the obvious.

As I hinted a few days ago, I don’t see this at all.

The Qaddafi deal is a win for what might be called the Blair 2002 doctrine, namely that governments that hold WMDs and threaten the world should be forced to disarm, with the threat of invasion, and to submit to unrestricted inspection. As applied to Iraq, this produced UN resolution 1441 and Saddam’s capitulation, admitting the UN inspectors and declaring (truthfully as we now know) that he had destroyed all his weapons. According to the Blair 2002 doctrine, Saddam should then have received the same treatment as Qaddafi is getting now. The war, according to the Blair 2002 doctrine, was at best, an honest mistake.

The Bush doctrine, usually referred to in terms of pre-emptive action, is that governments hostile to the US should be overthrown. According to this doctrine, a deal that left Saddam in power, but contained, was never acceptable. (This point has been pushed harder since the failure to find WMDs.) But of course, this is precisely the deal that Qaddafi has been given.

It’s true that Bush briefly embraced the Blair 2002 doctrine. But this was a purely tactical move, based on the incorrect expectation that Saddam would supply a satisfactory pretext to secure UN support and cover Blair and the correct calculation that even a patently bogus pretext would be enough to drag Blair along in the end.

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  1. observa
    December 27th, 2003 at 17:20 | #1

    I think the Blair or Bush doctrine has given way to what may be more accurately described as an Anglo doctrine, of which Australia is an important link in its region. This doctrine is widely supported now by much of new Europe, some of old Europe and Japan. It has the tacit support of China and to a lesser extent Russia. France and Germany are having second thoughts now about being on the outer of this doctrine.

    The Anglosphere, largely via the US, has taken a number of hits from Islamic terrorism over the years and has largely turned the other cheek. As well, incidents like Lockerbie, the Iran hostage crisis, Achille Lauro and others have seen a growing frustration with the politics of do nothing, appeasement. This changed for the Anglosphere after Sept 11 and for Australia with Bali. Sept 11 struck down the Chamberlainesque desire for peace in the majority of Anglophiles. Those enemies of the democracies, who had slapped us in the face repeatedly with , obfuscation(weapons inspections),terror and war(Kuwait), now face the tenacity of the Churchillian bulldog.

    Essentially you are with them, or with us now. Increasingly the world is dividing along these lines(welcome aboard Musharraf and Gaddafi) and those within our ranks who have been with them, are feeling more uncomfortable and lonely. We are not the keepers or rescuers of the world, but if you continue to threaten us and ours, we are coming to get you out of your spider holes and show you to the world for what you really are. And you know what, spiders like Gaddafi are getting the message. That’s the way we like it now.

  2. December 27th, 2003 at 17:24 | #2

    “an honest mistake” at best!!???? I’d accept that postulation if I believed Bush acted in the best interests of the Global Community, but sadly we know full well, he didn’t. Perhaps that’s a tad unfair, given that he simply mouthed the words he was fed by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Kristol, Wolfowitz et al, but at the end of the day, the ‘mistake’ can hardly be called honest, even at best.

  3. December 28th, 2003 at 04:11 | #3

    Needless to say, I’m not really comfortable being in the position of defending the Bush Doctrine (or even trying to explain it, for that matter). Still, I think it’s a stretch to suggest that Qaddafi would have caved in if it weren’t for the invasion.

    This is hardly a settled question, of course. Maybe he would have eventually done the exact same thing solely to get sanctions lifted. But it really doesn’t seem reasonable to suggest that the invasion had nothing to do with changing his mind, especially since he himself has said it did.

  4. John
    December 28th, 2003 at 10:36 | #4

    Kevin, you’re missing my main point. I’m not taking a view on why Qaddafi agreed to the deal, and I expect the invasion of Iraq played a role.

    I’m making the point that the deal itself is inconsistent with the version of the Bush doctrine that justified the invasion, namely that dictators hostile to the US should be overthrown whether they have WMDs or not.

  5. Dave Ricardo
    December 28th, 2003 at 20:51 | #5

    It’s not the Blair 2002 doctrine and it’s not the Bush doctrine. It’s the “there’s a limit to how many countries even the United States can invade and occupy” doctrine.

    With all their problems bedding down Iraq, having not yet bedded down Afghanistan, there’s no way the Americans could invade Libya, Bush doctrine or no Bush doctrine. As it is, they are stretched to the linmit. Gaddafi saw an opening to gain kudos in the West at no cost (who was going to use his WMDs against anyway? Tunisia?), and have the Septics off his case forever, or at least the duration of the Bush administration.

    It was Saddams’s bad luck, or bad management, that the Americans had room to invade and occupy one more country after Afghanistan, and his was it.

  6. Homer Paxton
    December 29th, 2003 at 09:17 | #6

    Dave is on the money.

    If you have WMDs whom can you use them against? Only countries that either don’t have them or who don’t have a treaty with countries that do.This is due to the perennial problem of retaliation.

    The US couldn’t invade another country on bogus evidence so I wouldn’t be surprised that the Mad man went sane and thought if I divert all this wasted money I am throwing at WMDs now into productive areas and get brownie points from the West Libya will be better off.

  7. observa
    December 29th, 2003 at 12:01 | #7

    Essentially Bush and Blair agreed on one thing, namely that the ME was and is, the greatest threat to world peace since the Cold War. I think they were at one on the notion of creating a beacon of light in the ME.

    While Afghanistan, with the Taliban’s state sponsorship of Al Qaeda, was a no-brainer after Sept11, it clearly had long term beacon of light problems, which a country with Iraq’s oil wealth and history didn’t. Bush and Blair were at one on the choice of Iraq. They would be well pleased with the progress so far. Their critics are in damage control mode now, with the capture of Saddam and Gaddafi’s capitulation. Also casualties compared to Sept11 are light and ‘Bringing On’ their enemies, has seen the fight carried out by the military in Iraq, rather than civilians in the office blocks of NY. Undeniably, a brilliantly executed, successful strategy to date.

    The question you need to ask yourself is- would the US have invaded Iraq without Britain? I think the answer is no and that’s why I see Iraq as the result of a concerted Anglo view. The Anglos basically gave Saddam an ultimatum they knew that Arab would have to refuse. From a humanitarian hindsight perspective, I’m only sorry Saddam wasn’t deposed after being thrown out of Kuwait. It was of course, too close to Vietnam and recent Cold War diplomatic niceties, to drive home the advantage.

    Sept11 showed the Anglos, the error of ignoring the overall ME threat to their security. Now their beacon of light has been lit in Iraq and this Anglo believes it will shine even brighter in future. For Iraqis, their common fear of recent experience with darkness, will see to that. The more ME countries with reasonably peaceful, civil societies, the safer we all are. Also, don’t mess with us, we bite.

  8. December 29th, 2003 at 16:29 | #8

    The whole debate is off the rails. Libya has been disarmed according to the Bush doctrine alright: the Bush I doctrine of sanctions plus air-strike threats finally forced Gaddafi to disarm.

    The same procedure worked on Hussein who had substantially disarmed his WMDs by the mid-nineties.

    GW II was nurgatory from a disarmament point of view, whether or not it has achieved other desirable strategic or moral goals.

  9. observa
    December 29th, 2003 at 17:24 | #9

    There is no debate now Jack. When you got a bit nervous about extended supply lines, your leadership, its military and intelligence knew the head of the snake lay in Baghdad and didn’t waiver for an instant. Today the Kurds love us, the Shiites respect us and the Baathists fear us. As far as Anglos are concerned, the rest of the world can damn well please themselves, although some would put it more politely than this.

    It’s Anglo democracy at work I guess, but one thing’s for sure- If you don’t wrap yourself in the Anglo Stars n Stripes in this country, you won’t get to sit in the Lodge. If you don’t believe me, just ask Latham. We are all Americans now, aren’t we Iron Mark?

  10. Barry
    December 31st, 2003 at 12:57 | #10

    “Their critics are in damage control mode now, with the capture of Saddam and Gaddafi’s capitulation.”

    Incorrect – ‘mission accomplished’, anybody? Right now the Bush administration is trying to figure out how to declare a victory in the Summer of 2004 which will not collapse before the November election.

    “Also casualties compared to Sept11 are light”

    Huh? How many casualties did Saddam inflict on the US since the first Gulf War? Just in case you’ve forgotten 9/11, it was the work of Al Qaida. Otherwise known as sworn enemies of Saddam.

    “and ‘Bringing On’ their enemies, has seen the fight carried out by the military in Iraq, rather than civilians in the office blocks of NY.”

    Again, flat out wrong. Faithful to GOP talking points, though.

    The invasion of Iraq has not made the US safer from terrorism. The soldiers killed in the Iraq war did not die in place of US civilians who would have been killed by Saddam, for the simple and obvious reason that Saddam wasn’t killing US civilians, and wouldn’t be.

    “Undeniably, a brilliantly executed, successful strategy to date.”

    Well, it is consistent to end a post as it began.

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