Not exactly the transformation that Jim Reeves sang about. Yet, it is clear from the press announcements by both Blair & Bush, that they envisage a new role for Libya’s strong-man Muammar Qaddafi.
Reviled and despised for decades as the West’s enemy no 1, Qaddafi may proudly claim that he has stood the test of time and emerged from the shadows of “terrorism” to claim his “red-carpet treatment” at 10 Downing Street as well as at the Oval Office in Washington.
He may in fact be harboring the idea that since being singled out as a buddy on the mend, he will be able to outpace Saudi Arabia’s ailing monarch, King Fahd, in a race to become America’s new “Pointman”.
Since 9/11, this position has remained vacant.
Indeed, since Imam Khomeini toppled the Shah of Iran in a popular revolution in 1979, America has had to fill this vacancy. It did not simply imply replacing one faithful servant with another. It was further compounded by the fact that the US also had to commence an ideological battle with the political philosophy that underpinned the revolution: ISLAM.
Against this background America’s role in embracing Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein and arming him to the teeth in order to capacitate him to confront the nascent Islamic state militarily, can be better understood.
Brutal and repressive policies pursued by Saddam Hussein was of no consequence to mainstream Western public opinion. Neither were any eyebrows raised when images of the smiling Iraqi butcher in the company of high profile US politicians were published.
The courtship of Saddam Hussein ended when he dared to challenge American hegemony over another client-state, Kuwait, in 1990.
Thirteen years later, the “Pointman” had to be dug out of a rat hole –” looking haggard and forlorn –” a far cry from the days he hosted lavish banquets for the likes of Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Hurd and others.
While the world is debating his likely fate, Blair and Bush have sprung another surprise, with their disclosure that Qaddafi has come clean on his “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.
This they claim allows him to be rehabilitated.
This implies that embedded journalists will help shape public opinion in keeping with the foreign policy interests of the Anglo/American powers. Most will therefore ignore the fact that WMD of the most awesome type imaginable are possessed by Israel. The corollary to this vis-Ã -vis double standards and selective morality will also be ignored.
In other words, reverence will replace demonisation.
We will be expected to erase from our memory banks ever having heard Ronald Reagan declare: “Qaddafi is a mad dog”.
The paradigm shift will necessitate a new image creating process. Overnight then, Qaddafi’s new status as a friend will ensure that together with other “friendly” countries in the Middle East, Libya’s image will be enhanced.
Having joined the league of deputy-sheriffs, one wonders what type of impact Libya is now likely to make on the fortunes of the Africa Union. After all, Libya is part of the continent.