U.S.-Libyan Rapprochement: Lessons Learned
December 13, 2004
From the outside, recent U.S. diplomatic success with the Libyan government seemed seductively easy. After two decades of international pariah status, Libya committed in 2003 not only to forswear terrorism and abandon its weapons programs, but to turn over those programs to U.S. inspectors. In the process, Libya detailed previously secret procurement networks and allowed U.S. and UK intelligence specialists to map what they thought they knew about Libyan proliferation against actual facts on the ground. The operation looks precisely like the kind of success that needs to be repeated with a host of troublesome regimes around the world that are aiming to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Yet, before seeking to apply to Libyan experience to other cases, it is important to understand better the outlines of the Libya case itself. From that baseline, similarities and differences with other cases can be drawn.