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.