Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), a freshman member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tells National Review Online that the United States should “derecognize” the Qaddafi regime and set up a provisional embassy in Benghazi to begin “assisting the opposition’s needs and to negotiate the terms of formal recognition.”
“Any government that governs by threatening to massacre its people is not a legitimate government,” Rubio says. “We should take the further step of derecognizing them.” He believes that such a policy could “wear down” Qaddafi’s inner circle.
With regard to a potential embassy, Rubio sees this as the next logical step. “The good news is that the administration has already sent somebody there,” he says. “It is not a provisional embassy; it is more of a representative office. The transitional council has been given a similar space here in Washington. The elements are in place. We need to go one step further and recognize those offices for what they are.”
“The last step in this equation is recognizing the transitional council itself as a legitimate government in Libya,” he continues. “It is important to do that in a way that doesn’t threaten some of the other players in the area. In order to be able to ultimately have an election and a governable nation, you want that council to be a little broader than it is right now, to include other players from Libyan society and the Libyan government. Part of our role, in setting up a provisional embassy in Benghazi, would be to help the council reach out to these other players and create a broader coalition that we could then recognize.”
Rubio made these points to diplomat William Burns, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, in a meeting earlier today.