Sunday, December 21, 2003
All the links that I can handle! First up is den Beste, who might just be one of the smartest people on the net. My eyes normally glaze over when he goes on a tangent about the extemporaneous spacial curvature of the non-linear application of the 3rd Rule of frictionless motion, but when he settles down and writes, wow. Just read and absorb. He has a theory (for lack of a better word) that Bush and PM Tony Blair have been working the diplomatic version of NYPD Blue when it comes to Libya.
Why did he call the British, rather than the French or the Russians or the EU or the UN? That's another interesting piece to the puzzle. What has developed over the last couple years is that Blair and Bush are doing a superb good-cop/bad-cop act. Blair is the good cop, the "reasonable" one. Unlike Australian PM John Howard, Blair has leftist/internationalist credentials, and has positioned himself to be the only world leader with such credentials who has significant influence with Bush and who has some ability to restrain or deflect Bush. Bush is the bad cop, the cowboy, the moron, the devout Christian, the one with blood in his eye, who also happens to be commander in chief of the most powerful military in the world and appears very willing and perhaps even eager to use it against those he dislikes.
I honestly think that Blair realizes that Bush does what he says. When Bush says "I will not allow terrorists to attack my country", Blair's little red mental alarm starts flashing. Blair is much farther to the left than most people in America realize, or have been told. If he were an American politician, Blair would be to the left of Howie Dean. I think Blair sees his chance to restrain the USA in a sense, and is taking it. Granted, it works out well for both parties, and I'm certainly not going to complain about Libya getting rid of it's weapons. I just don't think that Blair is doing this for purely altruistic means.
It appears that the French had told Saddam that they could prevent the US from attacking even if Bush wanted to launch an attack. Because of that, Saddam thought he did not need to give much away.
The British position with Qaddafi, on the other hand, was that they had considerable influence with Washington but no veto over American actions. If you Libyans give us a deal with thus-and-so concessions, we think we can sell it to Bush and we promise to try really hard. We want to work with you here and to help you on this. But if you don't offer us enough there won't be anything we can do to keep the Americans from coming to visit you with extreme prejudice, like they just visited your buddy Saddam.
Blair is consolidating British power by using the USA as the stick to the UK's carrot. So long as terrorist supporting countries STOP supporting terror, I'm happy. Let the UK pump up a bit, as it really won't harm us. At least the UK "gets it", when it comes to international terrorists. I'm afraid that there are many countries who still don't get it. Anyways, go read the whole thing.