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Andrew is right that maintaining diplomatic ties with a country doesn’t connote approval of its governing regime.  But we’ve already established relations with Tripoli.  What we are doing now is upgrading them.  If the Bush agenda has changed, so be it.  But a consistent problem in this administration has been that Bush rhetoric and State Department implementation have been contradictory.  A non-Libya example would be then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage labeling Iran a “democracy .”  Such a discrepancy between rhetoric and reality breeds dangerous cynicism in the region and makes it harder for us to find allies in the future.  Secondly, our professional diplomats seldom place advocacy for democracy above hope—however far-fetched—for political détente.  If our Foreign Service had more of a backbone, this might not be so much of a problem.  Unfortunately, we need to deal with the reality of a Foreign Service which embraces a status quo and is generally hostile to transformative diplomacy.


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