An unusual exhibit this week in Tennessee – of centrifuges from Libya's nuclear program – has again raised discussion about what the Libyan example represents in the battle to control weapons of mass destruction. Libya's December 2003 decision to abandon its WMD program is indeed a victory for the United States and its allies. But rather than supporting the idea that the use of pre-emptive force in Iraq will serve as an impetus for change within regimes that harbor WMD programs, the case of Libya presents a compelling example of the transformative power of containment, sanctions and diplomacy.
Center for American Progress Adjunct Scholar Dr. Ray Takeyh, a professor at the National Defense University and an expert on Near East affairs, analyzes the events within Libya and the international community that prompted the state to conclude that its nuclear program no longer served its national interests. In his piece, "Libya's Decision," Dr. Takeyh explores the internal changes and external pressure that prompted Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qaddafi to rethink his stance on WMD. He proposes that the United States should ease economic sanctions in return for Libya's cooperation and, in doing so, send a signal to Iran and Syria of the benefits they can gain by altering their policies.