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Monday, December 22, 2003
Sanctions or Fear of the US?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:52 am

Via Forbes here’s the run down of sanctions that were imposed on Libya:

The United States banned imports of Libyan oil and some
exports to Libya in 1982.

Sanctions were expanded after the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco to include a total ban on direct import and export trade,
commercial contracts, and travel-related activities.

The U.S. Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) - passed in 1996 and renewed for another five years in 2001 - granted the U.S.
president power to punish non-U.S. firms investing more than $20 million a year in energy sectors in Libya or Iran. The act has
never been implemented. Strongly criticised by European countries, the European Union has said that any U.S. attempt to penalize Europeans doing business in Libya would prompt a
complaint to the World Trade Organisation.

The U.N. Security Council imposed an air and arms embargo and a ban on some oil equipment on Libya in 1992 and 1993 to pressure Tripoli to hand over two Libyan suspects for trial for
the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing over Scotland.

The sanctions were suspended when Libya turned them over in April 1999. Intelligence agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was later
convicted. The second suspect was acquitted. The sanctions were lifted in September after Libya agreed to compensate victims.

Okay, twenty years of sanctions (some of which were lifted in the last several years) and no serious capitulation from the Colonel. Then, the US demonstrates its willingness to act preemptively against rogue states with WMDs and Gaddafi decides to negotiate.

Coincidence? I think not.

To be more serious for a second, this really should be an interesting case for international relations scholars to study the relative scuccess of sanctions v. the threat of military pressure.

Many may wish to claim that the sanctions worked is to make, I believe, a simple post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Yes, sanction preceded the shift of policy by the Libyans, but the question of why after decades of sactions they decided to give it all up now has to be answered. Clearly the Bush Doctrine represents the catalyst for the change.

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  1. Obviously, this is some unilateral conspiracy. I bet Bush really has Gaddafi locked in a cell in Guantanamo, and those agreements were made by a Jewish Halliburton employee.

    Comment by Jeremiah — Monday, December 22, 2003 @ 12:23 pm

  2. Before we all jump up and down and claim that military action is the only way to make countries comply, let’s remember a few things.

    1. we’ve been negotiating secretly with Libya for months.

    2. We don’t know what the US & Britain offered Libya. The carrots aren’t being discussed publicly.

    3. We intercepted shipments of banned weapons strengthening our diplomatic hand. At least if this telegraph report is to be believed.

    intercepted weapons

    4. Of all the countries trying to get wmd’s seriously, only one has changed it course. i.e. the Bush doctrine has produced one success story without raising arms.

    5. In order to use preemptive military action like the Bush doctrine purports, one must have excellent intelligence. We do *not* have good intelligence today. Iraq proved that.

    The point is that any good student of history knows, military action should be used sparingly. The unknowns of war are so great. Used with reason, coupled with diplomacy, military action as well as econonmic sanctions can be the “sticks” that spurs the final action, but the “carrot” is also a must. Unless we want to spread our military all over the globe, which is an unrealistic goal.

    Comment by Eric — Monday, December 22, 2003 @ 12:31 pm

  3. I hardly said that that military action is the only way to solve things-indeed, I consider this a diplomatic vicotry-but one that could not have happened if Gaddafi had not be scared by the Iraqi policy. The evidence is pretty clear Heck, even the editorial pages of the NYT and WaPo give Bush’s Iraq policy cresit, especially WaPo’s.

    Comment by Steven — Monday, December 22, 2003 @ 12:41 pm

  4. Indeed, the point is that we don’t have to spread our military out everywhere if this rogue states believe that there is a good chance we will use our military against them. It isn’t a perfect policy (none is), but it works better than sanctions alone.

    Comment by Steven — Monday, December 22, 2003 @ 12:42 pm

  5. Yes, I should have rephrased my opening, as you didn’t say military solutions were the only solution. Sorry.

    I wanted to also mention that with this type of policy runs the risk of escalation of conflicts. Look at Israel/Palestine today. For the last 5 years under Sharon, Israel has used a policy of aggressive military action. During that time the results have been bloody. Today there is little hope of reconciliation. What has been gained?

    This could easily happen under the Bush doctrine. If Iran snubs us on nukes (and they aren’t really being that helpful now) this administration is either going to have to follow its policy or amend it. Because of the type of position it has put itself in using tough language, military action sooner rather than later, and an unwillingness to garner support internationally first, its very likely to use military action in Iran. However, Iran is not a weak little state like Iraq had become. And they’ve thrown western-backed governments out before.

    Comment by Eric — Monday, December 22, 2003 @ 1:33 pm

  6. Eric face reality. The stick worked.

    That is not to say carrots have no value. But give it up already. The stick worked. Get over it.

    Comment by Paul — Monday, December 22, 2003 @ 3:25 pm

  7. Eric: If this was in fact a triumph for UN-style diplomacy, why didn’t Moammar call Kofi Annan when he decided to play give-away with his WMD? Why, instead, did he call Tony “Little Teeny-Tiny Satan” Blair? It wouldn’t have been to ask him to intercede with W before something nasty came down his Libyan chimney, would it?

    Comment by Ted Seay — Sunday, December 28, 2003 @ 5:23 pm

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