Muammar Qaddafi

Thirty years ago I wrote a tiny book in defense of nuclear deterrence. Against the nuclear freezers and the nuclear war-fighters, deterrence was not hard to defend: my argument was drearily sensible. But I was nervously aware that I was urging good sense about a strategic situation that was senseless, because it was premised upon the credibility of a threat of holocaust. I was careful to note my discomfort in my book: deterrence, I said, may be supported but not celebrated, because it is another term for an unprecedentedly lethal danger, which it elects to manage rather than to abolish.

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Whatever Kim Jong-Il’s death meant for the people of North Korea, it did not change the fundamental strategic interest that the United States has in the country. The paramount issue for Washington remains assuring that Pyongyang never uses its nuclear arsenal, and that it never leaks or gifts its weapons material and technology to other nations or terrorists. But if Washington’s basic strategic posture remains, it should consider revising its current non-proliferation policies in the wake of Pyongyang’s change of leadership.

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A very clever blogger, short and pithy, comments on the world virtually daily. His name is Errol Phillips, and I have not the slightest idea of who he is. But this ironic observation seems perfectly apt. So I share it with you: Let’s see if I got this right. Water-boarding is torture and unacceptable. But assassination is murder and is acceptable. At least we know now that progressives have finally come around to accepting the death penalty. We shall see which countries will complain to the United Nations about Friday's killing(s).

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The death of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and the fall of his last two loyal towns mark the end of the revolution that has rocked the country for eight months.

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Tripoli—Youssef Sawani did not recognize the Saif Qaddafi who appeared on Libyan state television shortly after revolution erupted across the country earlier this year. Sawani knew Saif as a fellow reformer. But there was no denying it: there, on television was the son—and presumed successor—of the since-deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi announcing, “We will not sell Libya short. We will fight to our very last man, woman, and bullet.” These were the words not of a technocrat, but a man of war.

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Judging from the fervor of their celebrations, the Libyan people are acutely aware that they will benefit from the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. But Libya is hardly the only country that has reason to rejoice. As committed as the dictator was to destroying his own country, he posed an equal—perhaps even greater—danger to developing countries in other parts of the world. From the time he assumed power, Qaddafi leveraged Libya’s oil money, and his own willingness to have his country become a pariah state, to support insurgencies from East Asia, to South America, to southern Africa.

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The Libyan people are right to celebrate as their country’s benighted Muammar Qaddafi era comes to a definitive close, but the country’s new leadership should also not forget that its work is just beginning.

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Sinking Fast

The U.S. ship in the successor flotilla aiming to break the Israeli embargo of the Gaza Strip has been named The Audacity of Hope. It is a bad joke that Barack Obama deserves. His proven coldness toward Israel has emboldened these foolish and meretricious people (including the uproariously silly Alice Walker) to open yet another front against the Jewish state. Of course, their campaign is not really about the embargo. It is about the very existence of Israel. It is not genocide, but it is politicide, and this is also a crime against humanity.

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They march in place as a drill sergeant barks commands. They simulate shooting 106-mm guns in a concrete lot. They practice charging enemy buildings. They are giving it their all, but they resemble high school freshmen learning to march on their first day of band practice. Meet the recruits who hope to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

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