Wednesday, December 31, 2003


"Warmongering flag-waving God-fearing conservative" newcomer Propaganda News Network opens his blog by "fisking" my post on Libya. Those who want the details can go and read them there, but the core contention is that this is a victory and vindication of bullying NeoCon policies, as "Gaddafi initiated diplomatic proceedings exactly as the war started".

Perhaps PNN would like to consult this story from the Washington post, which says among other things:

"What forced Gaddafi to act was a combination of things -- U.N. sanctions after the Lockerbie bombing, his international isolation after the Soviet Union's collapse . . . and internal economic problems that led to domestic unrest by Islamists and forces within the military," said Ray Takeyh, a Libya expert at the National Defense University.

But the money quote is this:

Within months after September 11th, we had the Libyans, the Syrians and the Iranians all coming to us saying, 'What can we do [to better relations]?' We didn't really engage any of them, because we decided to do Iraq. We really squandered two years of capital that will make it harder to apply this model to the hard cases like Iran and Syria," said Flynt Leverett, a former Bush administration National Security Council staff member now at the Brookings Institution.

Just to highlight that: Gaddafi (and others) made significant diplomatic advances after September 11th, but Bush ignored them and sat on his hands for over a year. Meanwhile, the British have pursued a policy of quiet diplomacy, and have managed to achieve exactly what Bush has in Iraq - eliminate WMDs which weren't there - without having to kill ten thousand innocent civillians and an unknown number of conscripts in the process. I am not happy with the corresponding relaxation of pressure on Libya on the human rights front, but the result itself is a good thing.

As for North Korea, I think that it really does display the flaws in the warmonger's logic: threats from America seem to have caused a rush to acquire a nuclear deterrant, rather than a rush to eschew one. It's a massive failure of imagination to think that threats and force will always be met by backing down, rather than with reciprocation - but bullies always seem to have this problem, and when one of their victims meets force with force, they stand around whining and wondering what the hell caused it.

I do have to compliment PNN on one thing though: he has a catchy name, and at least he's honest about what he's spreading.