The Clandestine Building of Libya's Chemical Weapons Factory: A Study in International Collusion

By Thomas C. Wiegele | Go to book overview

10
Some Policy-making Considerations

As stated in the introductory chapter, this is a case study of a nation that acquired a major chemical weapons production facility while most of the earth's nations were predisposed to halting the spread of such weapons. The United States stood virtually alone, at least publicly, in demanding that Libya halt its activities and that the Federal Republic of Germany prevent its commercial firms from supplying Libya with equipment and raw chemicals. This "gentleman's solution" did not work.

The present chapter examines in general terms a number of factors statesmen need to take into account in dealing with chemical (and perhaps biological) weapons proliferation. Of course, it should be kept in mind that no act of proliferation will take place in the precise manner of a previous act. Although this chapter is oriented to those who aim at preventing proliferation, it should be recognized that those who seek to acquire a mass destruction weapons capability also learn from previous international experiences. Given the success of the Libya n experience, therefore, future attempts at proliferation are likely to be more sophisticated and more deceptive.


Statesmanship

Able statesmen always seek to determine where they and their nations stand in the evolution of political events. Determining one's location in history provides an advantage to a maneuvering nation. Since the advent of the nuclear era in 1945, we have been living in an age of science in military affairs. For more that forty years, we have witnessed a military science dominated, at least at the mass destruction level, by the discipline of physics. Since the 1970s we have been moving into an age dominated by biochemistry and biotechnology. Although chemical weaponry is certainly not new, new methods and new processes have been developed to aid in the efficient production of chemical weapons. Some of these processes

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