How Libya and the ghost of Muammar Gaddafi threaten the promised summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un

How Libya and the ghost of Muammar Gaddafi threaten the promised summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un

In 2003, the then powerful Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, pressured by the international community, agreed to lay down his program of weapons of mass destruction in exchange for the end of United Nations and US sanctions that had paralyzed the economy of his country. Eight years later, the Libyan leader was killed in the midst of a popular rebellion that ended his government of 42 years. Therefore, it seems to have been a bad idea to have put the Libyan case as a “model” of disarmament when talking about the process that opened with North Korea for the dismantling of its nuclear program, as the White House National Security Advisor did first, John Bolton, and then vice president, Mike Pence. Kim Yong Un’s government did not like to suggest – or threaten, as they perceived in Pyongyang – that the ‘beloved’ Kim could follow the fate of another mass driver also supposedly loved by his people, as Gaddafi was supposed to be. , until he stopped counting on that grace. Although they have resurfaced new conversations to rescue the meeting. The expressions of goodwill that had been established between Washington and Pyongyang in recent weeks were replaced with an increasingly aggressive rhetoric on both sides, although not yet reaching the excesses of recent times when competing to show who had the button. largest nuclear But it was the references to the “Libyan model” that ended up disrupting the plan of the summit and, in passing, they made it clear that the agenda and the purpose of the meeting was not entirely well defined, as those who said it was hurried and It was even inconvenient to have a meeting at that level without having clearly defined what was going to be achieved. Libya vs North Korea There are some similarities between the North Korea that governs Kim and the Libya of Gaddafi: both are countries tightly controlled by a providential leader who, at least in official propaganda, are loved by his people, who follow him as a father. In the distressing video that shows the final minutes of Gaddafi, after being captured by a group of rebels, he reminds them that he is their “father” as the last argument to try to save his life. It was useless. In addition, North Korea and Libya have been international pariahs that have challenged the world order, sometimes even leaving the channels of the great ideological currents in which they are inscribed: pan-Arabism in the Libyan case and communism in the North Korean. And therefore both nations experienced the pressure of international sanctions that have damaged their economies. But there are enormous political, cultural and historical differences that make it difficult to establish parallels and much less extrapolate an experience to predict what may or may not happen with another. Kim is not Gaddafi Neither Kim is Gaddafi, nor is Libya North Korea, nor is the world and its equilibria the same as in 2001, when Washington embarked on the so-called “war on terror” to punish those responsible for the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. True, in 2003 some thought that the “Libyan model” would serve to dismantle arsenals in other fractious states, such as Syria or Iran, but now conditions have varied enormously. In Libya, Gaddafi deposed his weapons of mass destruction program to end several decades of isolation that had damaged the oil economy and made him a bizarre figure irrelevant to world politics. The lifting of the sanctions began in 1999 with the recognition of the responsibility of Tripoli in the attack against the plane of the missing American airline Pan American that fell when a bomb exploded on board on the Scottish town of Lockerbie, causing the death of 270 people . Two Libyan agents were found guilty of the act by a Scottish court installed in The Hague. Then, in 2003, after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, an invasion that took place with the argument of annulling the never found weapons of mass destruction, the government of Gaddafi offered to compensate with 10 million dollars to each family of the deceased and , surprisingly, dismantling its nuclear program. Suddenly, Libya was welcomed back into the international community and many companies began to return with their investments to the production fields in the Maghrebi nation. A transaction in which everyone seemed to be winners. Eight years later, the popular rebellion broke out in Egypt and Tunisia. Libya was infected and Gaddafi lost power and life at the hands of insurgents supported by the international community. The weight of the dynasty Pyongyang is not as alone as Tripoli. Perhaps it has few allies, but it has the sober support of a very powerful one, China, which increasingly counteracts the influence of the US in Asia. Kim Jong Un is part of a dynasty established by his grandfather Kim Il Sun, who was followed by his father Kim Jong Il, and who controls power in North Korea since the creation of the country with the division of the peninsula at the end of the Second World War (1939-45). But the biggest difference lies in the level of the North Korean nuclear program. Despite the Libyan approach to Pakistani technicians in the development of their military plan, experts say that Gaddafi was not close to providing a nuclear weapon. In contrast, North Korea is considered by many as an ‘unofficial’ nuclear power, which also has – in theory – the ability to place its bombs on intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach continental US territory. Libya waived that possibility in 2003, and that made it easier for neither Washington nor its NATO allies to intervene with air operations to prevent Gaddafi’s army from attacking rebel strongholds. A Libyan nuclear arsenal, however small, would surely have deterred such action. Some believe that the transaction that allowed Gaddafi international recognition at the end left him with an Achilles’ heel that prevented him from defending his regime from that rebel alliance with international forces. Surely in Pyongyang have that passage of history present.

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