The sanctions taken against Libya will not unduly inconvenience that regime. The diplomats being expelled from other countries were not carrying on normal relations anyway. The arms that won't be sold for the duration of the sanctions would not have altered Libya's capacity to harm its neighbors, which is real but limited. The passengers who won't be able to fly to Tripoli will need an extra day to drive in from Tunisia or Egypt.
So starts the first round in a test of will between Libyan President Muammar el Kadafi and the world community. Mr. Kadafi will not willingly or easily give up the Libyan intelligence agents wanted by Britain and the United States for one airliner bombing and by France for another. He must protect his underlings if they are to protect him. He cannot want them in Western custody free to talk about their instructions. He will wiggle and writhe and propose meaningless solutions that don't give the suspects up to the countries that want them.
The real test of the United Nations' newfound powers and its ability to combat state-sponsored terrorism will come when these sanctions have run their course and failed. Will Italy and Germany, Libya's biggest oil customers, agree to the logical next stage, a land and sea embargo and an oil boycott? Right now, there is ample oil from other sources, but seasoned oil customers with long memories can imagine other situations.