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Between the Lines

December 22, 2003

We never negotiate with evil … well, hardly ever

Except when it seems to serve our interests, as it does now in the case of Libya. That North African country, and its erratic tyrant, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, has been on our list of evil-doers for a long while now. You might remember that Libyan agents bombed a disco frequented by U.S. servicemen in Berlin and – Gadhafi's crowning terrorist act – blew up Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The news that Gadhafi is willing to end his efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction is certainly a Good Thing. It is not, however, exclusively a vindication of President Bush’s policy of pre-emptive warfare, as Gadhafi has been trying to work his way back into at least minimal good graces with the West for some time now (turning over the Lockerby bombers for trial and agreeing to indemnify the families of Flight 103, for example). Years of UN sanctions played a large role in pushing him toward his new accommodative stance.Juan Cole, a Middle East scholar, has a good wrap up.

Posted by tbrown at 12:38 PM


At least Cheney doesn’t negotiate with evil

While his boss and British PM Tony Blair were wrapping up the agreement with Gadhafi, Vice Presidnet Dick Cheney was doing his best to scuttle any resumption of negotiations with North Korea over disposition of its nuclear weapons program.

"I have been charged by the President with making sure that none of the tyrannies in the world are negotiated with,” Cheney reportedly huffed at a meeting to consider a draft plan for an approach to the North. “We don't negotiate with evil; we defeat it."

Yeah, woof.

Bush subsequently telephoned Chinese President Hu Jintao over the weekend. What they said was undisclosed. But we can hope that Bush tried to patch up any Cheney-caused damage with China, which has been working hard to find a formula for getting North Korea, the U.S., Japan, China, Russia and South Korea back into six-way talks on the Korean standoff.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Hu as saying that China "will continue maintaining close contact with the relevant parties to facilitate the holding of the second Beijing six-party talks at an early date and enable the talks to yield positive results."

Good. Now maybe Bush could consider muzzling the veep and his fellow neoconservatives. Please.

Posted by tbrown at 12:36 PM


The Angry Right

We hear endlessly about the Angry Left and how wrong it is of them to be miffed about the quality of our national so-called leadership. Thanks to Matt Yglesias for keeping track of the histrionics of my favorite right-wing fruitcake, Tom Delay, the Texas Exterminator.

Posted by tbrown at 12:34 PM


Pakistan the proliferator

Pakistan has long been suspected of having helped the nuclear programs of Iran, North Korea and perhaps other rogue states. Now the issue is on the front burner following stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Posted by tbrown at 12:33 PM




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