THREE DAYS BEFORE U.S.-LIBYAN TIES RESUMED, NELSON INSTITUTE DIRECTOR COMMENTS ON QADDAFI

May 15, 2006

HARRISONBURG—U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice announced today that the United States was reestablishing full diplomatic ties with Libya after more than a quarter of a century because the North African country had abandoned its nuclear and other unconventional weapons programs and had allegedly helped in the campaign against terrorism.

Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, voiced a markedly different perspective in an opinion editorial published in the Providence Journal just three days before the Bush administration’s announcement. In his commentary for the Rhode Island newspaper, entitled “Thugs’ Club in Africa—After Charles Taylor, Snatch Qaddafi,” Dr. Pham argued that Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi has yet to answer for his role in fomenting conflicts that resulted in the death, rape, maiming, or mutilation of over one million Africans.

The author of two books on the African conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone in which Qaddafi played a major role, Dr. Pham noted: “In the wake of the Iraq war, it is completely understandable that Qaddafi should try to mollify the West by dismantling his nuclear-, chemical- and biological-weapons programs, as well as by talking about democracy and human rights. That the West should be seduced by this charade is not only pathetic; it also betrays an ill-disguised double standard that smacks of racism.”

To read Dr. Pham’s op-ed, click here.