U.S. Policy on Libyan Chemical Weapons Proliferation Essay

5838 Words24 Pages
U.S. Policy on Libyan Chemical Weapons Proliferation


A legacy of aggression exists between the United States and Libya which pervades every facet of U.S. foreign policy, particularly in the non-proliferation arena. The absolute distrust of Revolutionary Leader Colonel Mu'ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi and his government expressed by U.S. officials has prompted the United States to play the role of policing non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, the so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), in Libya. As Libya is a party to the Pelindaba Treaty for the establishment of the African nuclear-weapon-free zone (ANWFZ), it is bound to a commitment of nuclear non-proliferation. However, this treaty
…show more content…
The definition of proportionality, however, is difficult to ascertain and the doctrine can only be invoked in the case of attack. Therefore, U.S. use of nuclear weapons in response to the present Libyan production of chemical weapons is unjustifiable.

The chemical weapons non-proliferation regime boasts a strong treaty in the form of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), but as Libya is not a party to this treaty, its restrictions have no bearing on Libyan chemical weapons production. Libya, therefore, presents a problem in that its chemical weapons production constitutes a world threat, but its actions are fully legal. The Geneva Protocol of 1925 merely prohibits the use of chemical weapons, not their production, stockpiling, or possession. Thus, though U.S. policy options are constrained by its agreements and security assurances, the United States must seek out legal and effective means of ending Libyan production of chemical weapons.

Libya has long been considered a state threatening the interests of the WMD non-proliferation regimes. Though Libya is a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT, "[its] commitment to the accord is suspect because of [its] demonstrated interest in acquiring nuclear arms" (Jones 1995:15). This resolution became more suspicious when Libya joined Bhutan and India in casting a negative vote in the overall 158 to 3 vote in favor of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (Jones 1995:16).

More about U.S. Policy on Libyan Chemical Weapons Proliferation Essay

Get Access