The timing and nature of this conversion also vindicates the Bush anti-terror Doctrine. Gadhafi's emissaries first approached British officials in March, just as the war in Iraq was getting under way. From the first days after September 11, Mr. Bush offered state sponsors of terrorism a choice to be with us or against us. If Gadhafi had any doubts about U.S. resolve after the Taliban fell in Afghanistan, they vanished once he saw that Saddam Hussein was also headed for the spider hole of history.
It's amusing to see the same people who have opposed the Bush Doctrine now claiming that Gadhafi's conversion is the triumph of “diplomacy.” European Commission President Romano Prodi averred on the weekend that Libya's reversal “demonstrates the effectiveness of discrete diplomacy and engagement, which has been the European Commission's consistent approach.” The French and Senator John Kerry said something similar, as usual.
But years of diplomacy by itself didn't seem to move Libya from its terrorist ways. Only when Gadhafi could see that WMD programs were a path to his own self-destruction, as they were in Iraq, did he agree to turn state's evidence against himself. Mr. Bush's new Proliferation Security Initiative, which is attempting with 10 other nations to use the military to intercept WMD shipments, was also noticed by the Libyan.
Mr. Kerry's Saturday statement that “this significant advance represents a complete U-turn in the Bush Administration's overall foreign policy” shows why he's going to have to mortgage more than his Beacon Hill home to become commander-in-chief. He doesn't understand that the credible threat of force, and often its use, is essential before diplomacy has any chance of working.