Timidity can cost lives, in war and in diplomacy. The United States and NATO were right to intervene in Libya this spring. Moammar Gaddafi’s forces were at the gates of Benghazi, hours away from overrunning the city and brutally ending the Libyan people’s struggle for freedom from Gaddafi’s 40-year dictatorship.
Full diplomatic recognition would, first and foremost, legitimize the struggle of the TNC on behalf of the Libyan people against the Gaddafi regime. It would strip Gaddafi of any vestige of legal or diplomatic status to claim he is Libya’s rightful leader; would allow the TNC to oversee the $34 billion in Gaddafi assets frozen in the United States (funds that really belong to the Libyan people); and would reassure the international community that the TNC, not Gaddafi’s regime, has the right to transfer valid title to Libya’s natural resources.