Monday, October 31, 2011

The Limits of Flipping a Tyrant

Cutting deals with thug rulers is always a problem even if we have tactical reasons to peacefully achieve a partial win in the short run.

It seems that Khaddafi wasn't as "flipped" as we thought:

Libya's interim prime minister on Sunday confirmed the presence of chemical weapons in Libya and said foreign inspectors would arrive later this week to deal with the issue.

We knew Khaddafi kept chemicals, but the weapons were supposed to be gone. Apparently not. Also, Libya still has nuclear materials, if this news is true.

So don't feel guilty about taking down a thug dictator who supposedly flipped to our side out of fear after we nailed Saddam Hussein. It was clear Khaddafi was flipping back as that fear faded. And now we know he never fully flipped in the first place.

As I mentioned here as an aside in the post, rather than undermining our ability to cut deals with dictators, it sends the message that when you flip, you'd better darn well stay flipped--and if you lied to us about the sincerity of your flip, the deal is off:

Five, while you may say that it sends a bad message to current despots who might want to come in from the cold because Khaddafi "flipped" (after witnessing that we destroyed Saddam) and gave up almost all of Libya's WMD programs and stockpiles (nuke stuff is safely in America, now; although some poison gas in non-weaponized form is still in Libya--assuming we didn't bomb it already), Khaddafi has been backsliding in recent years. I say that it is a good message to send to despots that when you flip, you'd damn well stay fully flipped. Flipping should not be a time out to avoid destruction that allows you to gradually resume standard operating procedures.

No, ending up on display in a meat locker (according to proper standards of ritual corpse display fully consistent with Islam, of course) is the end result of playing games with us.