Despot Watch: The Q-Man

A terrorist superstar of yesteryear faces a mid-life crisis.

Issue: Winter 2003-2004

I'm sad to report that our favorite North African despot has turned a little jowly in recent years. He's lost that Neil Diamond Grecian-bust look he had going on in his revolutionary youth, and when he loads himself up with military sashes and decorated pockets and epaulets and that broad-brimmed braided cap, the Colonel resembles nothing so much as an officious constable in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Maybe he's doing it on purpose. Maybe it's the new kinder, gentler friendly-guy-next-door Qaddafi. The title of "Colonel", after all, was conferred by the Brits. What kind of guy goes through life wanting to be the Colonel? We associate it with Colonel Sanders, not to mention Colonel Klink. It's the daft blundering guy who never quite makes general.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!