Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Learning the Lessons of Stalin
By Alexander Marriott 12/22/2003


The Bush Administration is declaring victory now that the dictator (or for the BBC, ALeader@) of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, has agreed to let in United Nations Weapons Inspectors and to dismantle all Weapons of Mass Destruction programs. To Areward@ Gadhafi for his Acompliance@ there is already talk of taking Libya off of the State Department=s list of state sponsors of terror and easing the economic sanctions that were imposed by much of the western world in the 1980's after a series of heinous acts of war and terror that culminated with the Pan Am 103 bombing in 1988. This deal that has been struck with Gadhafi is a sign of one of three things, 1) Gadhafi has been frightened by our actions towards and against Iraq and has decided to give up his weapons programs, 2) He is attempting to pretend that he is giving up his weapons programs to get the economic restrictions lifted, hoping that the UN Weapons Inspectors won't figure out what's really going on, or 3) he has learned the lessons of Joseph Stalin and Communist China and has realized that the west will fund and supply their enemies if they give up totally non-essential things like weapons programs.

If it is the first or the second then this victory is hollow and Pyrrhic in the truest sense. First of all, Gadhafi is hardly what I would call trustworthy and UN Weapons Inspectors aren=t nearly enough to assuage what is only my highly reasonable caution and distrust of the Libyan dictator.

If it is the third scenario then Gadhafi isn=t as crazy and idiotic as has been supposed. He has finally learned a crucial lesson of history that Saddam Hussein was too daft to figure out. The United States and the rest of industrial world are perfectly willing to buy peace with dictators, even if it means the dictators continue to pose a threat and hold their peoples in perpetual slavery. This lesson Gadhafi could have learned from the despicable example set by the West as it concerned the greatest butcher in history of the world, Joseph Stalin.

While England and the United States waged war on Hitler, Mussolini, and Imperial Japan they gave weapons, food, and industrial capital to the Soviet Union under the far more brutal and ultimately more dangerous, Joseph Stalin. The Trials at Nuremberg were farces for the simple fact that criminals of equal evil who had exterminated far greater numbers of people were not only safe in Moscow, but had been allied with the United States and England and were hailed as a vital part of the victorious alliance.

Even when the United States and Great Britain realized that Stalin and the Soviet Union were enemies, shipments of “humanitarian” aid (things such as wheat) still flowed in from the West. It is obvious that having nuclear weapons will intimidate western countries, but now that developing them may precipitate a war it is easier to just threaten to develop them and then promise to not do so and achieve the same results.

What does the West gain from this dubious deal? Clearly the West gains nothing. How does anyone ever know Gadhafi was anywhere near producing a nuclear weapon? Even if he did develop one, Libya lacks the missile technology to send it anywhere other than to the rest of Arab North Africa.

Gadhafi has never had to pay for his crimes beyond the absurd “justice” of financial payment and a few bombs back in the 1980’s. The fact that he is a terrorist, tyrant, and murderer isn’t changed by the fact that he is twenty years older or a few billion dollars poorer. Would we allow men like Jeffrey Dahmer and Gary Ridgway to buy their way out of prison to “make up” for their murders (even if the families of the victims thought it was ok)? Hopefully not, because the Justice system is not in place to extract money for crimes like rape and murder or to appease the families of the victims, it is in place to exact Justice on criminals in the form of imprisonment and/or death in the name of the victims and in the name of civil society which these men have violated so heinously.

Gadhafi is no different; he just runs a country and can therefore kill more people than a man like Ridgway could hope to kill in a lifetime. Yet we are following the same disastrous pattern of Franklin Roosevelt, not only in the domestic sphere but in the foreign policy sphere as well. And it is to our detriment and the detriment of the Libyan people (though they could end their own misery by revolting) and to the benefit only of the Libyan dictator and his cronies. Ayn Rand pointed out that when good and evil compromise the only one who benefits is evil, good can gain nothing from evil, but evil prospers by the sanction of good. We shall see this proved yet again, despite the numerous historical warnings, by our compromising with Libya.

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