Joshua E. Keating: A Wilsonian Move by the White House in Libya
Joshua E. Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today that the United States is will recognize Libya's Transitional National Council as the country's "legitimate governing authority". This comes as something of a surprise, as the normal U.S. policy is to recognize whichever government is in de facto power of a country. Despite recent rebel gains, that's probably still Muammar al-Qaddafi, entrenched behind his forces in Tripoli. This stance goes back as far as the French Revolution, when the U.S. recognized the country's new Republican government while Europe's monarchies still regarded it as illegitimate.
(This is not the same thing as having diplomatic relations with a country. The U.S. may not have an embassy in Iran but doesn't question that the Islamic Republic does, in fact, rule the country.)
But there have certainly been exceptions to the rule. An instructive case is the Woodrow Wilson administration's refusal to extend recognition to Mexican dictator Vicotriano Huerta, who took power in a 1913 coup...
comments powered by Disqus
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History