Can buy me love

Before Libyans rose up against him, Muammar Gaddafi used money, and well-timed diplomatic overtures, to worm his way into the West’s good graces. How Bush, Blair, and Berlusconi gave the brutal dictator a makeover.

The tale is a sordid one, but let’s at least begin in relatively pleasant surroundings, among the leather armchairs of the Travellers Club in London. Its rooms have been a favorite rendezvous since the 19th century for gentlemen of international intrigue—and it’s where Libya’s urbane, white-haired spymaster, Musa Kusa, met with representatives of the British and American intelligence services in December 2003. Their purpose was to hammer out a deal to bring Kusa’s boss, Muammar Gaddafi, in from the cold.

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