Eat the other guy first
Posted by aogTuesday, 23 December 2003 at 17:01 TrackBack Ping URL

Via Brothers Judd we have this little tidbit:

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who recently announced that he would end his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, advised North Korea, Iran, and Syria to give up their WMD programs as well. Gadhafi said that by following in his footsteps, those nations can escape from their current difficulties.

The question I ask is, why did Gadhafi say this? What does he care about North Korea, Iran and Syria? Moreover, does he expect them to actually change their behaviour because he recommended it? That hardly seems plausible.

What I suspect is that this message was intended for an American audience. Gadhafi has probably figured out that while the USA can get anyone, it can’t get everyone. It’s the same theory as this old joke:

Two hikers are in the woods when the run across an enraged bear. One hiker takes off running but the other sits down calmly and starts putting on tennis shoes. The first hiker calls back “those won’t make you fast enough to outrun the bear!”. The other hiker replies “I don’t have to. I just have to outrun you.”

I expect that Gadhafi is thinking that he doesn’ t have to be good, just not as bad as others to escape Saddam Hussein’s fate. By calling on the new Axis of Evil to repent, he emphasizes the difference between Libya and those other countries while making a show of his own cooperation.

I’m OK with this. If the nasty regimes of the world are competing to not be first on the list of regimes we would like to dispose of, that’s good for everyone. Another win for the kind word and a gun theory of diplomacy.