The Libyan Model – North Korea, Nukes, and President Trump

By: - May 23, 2018

It has been widely reported that on an episode of CBS’ Face The Nation, National Security Advisor John R. Bolton said that when it came to the denuclearization of North Korea, the U.S. was “looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004.” However, it is important to note that Bolton was not referencing what happened in Libya in 2010 and 2011, when Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed by rebels supported by the United States government, but rather how Libya’s elimination of nuclear and chemicals weapons was handled in relation to their previous behavior and promises.

BRENNAN: Is it a requirement that Kim Jong-un agree to give away those weapons before you give any kind of concession? 

BOLTON: I think that’s right. I think we’re looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004. We’re also looking at what North Korea itself has committed to previously and most importantly I think going back over a quarter of a century to the 1992 joint North-South denuclearization agreement where North Korea committed to give up nuclear weapons and committed to give up uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing. Now we’ve got other issues to discuss as well: their ballistic missile programs, their biological and chemical weapons programs, their keeping of American hostages, the abduction of innocent Japanese and South Korean citizens over the years. So there’s a lot to talk about.

After watching the end of Saddam Hussein’s reign in Iraq, Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi announced in December of 2003 that Libya was eliminating all weapons of mass destruction, including both chemical and nuclear weapons.  During the Libyan civil war, Gaddafi was overthrown and killed on October 20, 2011. North Korea has expressed concern that if they commit to getting rid of the same weapons, the U.S. will plot to conduct a regime change in their country.

When asked about Bolton’s comments and North Korea’s concerns, President Trump was adamant that the U.S. wanted to ensure that North Korea was better off by getting rid of their weapons, enabling them to have normal relations with the rest of the world in place of sanctions.

The full text of President Trump’s answer to the question about the “Libyan Model”

PRESS: “They seemed to get annoyed by a comment that Ambassador Bolton made about the Libya model of denuclearization.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP: “Yeah. Well, the Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all when we’re thinking of North Korea. In Libya, we decimated that country. That country was decimated. There was no deal to keep Gaddafi. The Libyan model that was mentioned was a much different deal. This would be with Kim Jong-un, something where he’d be there, he’d be in his country, he’d be running his country. His country would be very rich. His people are tremendously industrious. If you look at South Korea, this would be, really a South Korean model in terms of their industry, in terms of what they do. They’re hardworking, incredible people. But the Libyan model was a much different model.

We decimated that country. We never said to Gaddafi, Oh, we’re going to give you protection. We’re going to give you military strength. We’re going to give you all of these things. We went in and decimated him. And we did the same thing with Iraq. Now, whether or not we should have, I could tell you I was against it from the beginning because look what we have right now, we’ve spent $7 trillion, can you believe that, $7 trillion in the Middle East. Right out the window. You might as well throw the money right out the window. And we’ve done a lot of infrastructure. We just had airports approved. You saw that, a lot of things are happening. But we spent $7 trillion in the Middle East and look where we are right now. It’s pretty sad. 

But the model, if you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy. I really believe he’s going to be very happy. But this is just the opposite and I think when John Bolton made that statement, he was talking about if we’re going to be having a problem because we cannot let that country have nukes. We just can’t do it. So that’s the way it was meant. It’s really just the opposite. Because if you, if you look at, again, Syria, that was a total decimation.”