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THE INDEX—September 28, 2009

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Henry "Chip" Carey: Gaddafi and Obama, Unlikely Bedfellows

After celebrating four decades in power last month, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi visited the United Nations (and the United States) for the first time and addressed the UN General Assembly today. He spoke after President Barack Obama, which symbolically, if not actually, created an uncomfortable encounter. The controversy over the release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber “on compassionate grounds” and his subsequent hero’s welcome in Tripoli outraged many victims’ families and elicited a White House complaint. Many analysts and commentators have since remarked that this episode has confirmed the old cliché that a leopard cannot change his spots. Nevertheless, Washington faces a dilemma over whether to continue actively engaging Libya or to proceed with caution—holding short of military assistance or even re-imposing economic sanctions. There’s little argument that Libya has been (at least partially) rehabilitated, following the nation’s 2003 renunciation of nuclear weapons and the 2002 $2.7 billion settlement of the civil lawsuit from the 270 Lockerbie victims’ families that was paid out in stages over the following few years. In response, Washington facilitated the end of UN Security Council-imposed economic sanctions and, in 2006, removed the former pariah state from the list of nations that promote terrorism. Washington henceforth began the process of initiating military assistance to its erstwhile enemy. Much progress has transpired, particularly with respect to core U.S. national security interests, but internal politics and the ruling structure within Libya are still largely the same.

Josh Sanburn: Dr. Ben-Meir on a “Golden Opportunity” for Middle East Peace

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MA in International Policy and Development
Middlebury Institute (Monterey, CA): Put theory into practice through client-based coursework. Apply by Feb. 1.

Millennium Project’s State of the Future 19.0: Collective Intelligence on the Future of the World


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