Monday, September 17, 2007

Recognizing the Axis of Evil

On January 29, 2002, in his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush famously identified North Korea, Iraq and Iran as members of an "axis of evil." President Bush said, "States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world."

At the time some of the President's critics challenged his description of North Korea, Iraq and Iran, on the grounds that those nations were not allied with one another, and indeed, in the case of Iraq and Iran, were enemies. However, according to Caroline Glick, writing in the Jerusalem Post, that criticism is incorrect, as demonstrated by the Israeli air force strike into Syria last week that, according to the Sunday Times, destroyed a North Korean-supplied and Iranian-financed nuclear weapons facility. (Of course, Iraq is no longer a charter member of the axis of evil, thanks to the allied armed forces that overthrew his regime. "Baby Assad" of Syria now wears the mantle of his late and unlamented fellow Baathist dictator.) Ms. Glick writes:
What the raid exposed is that the free world faces a cohesive alliance of enemy forces that collaborate closely in their joint and separate offensives against their common foes. Whether or not it is called the axis of evil, after the IAF raid it is undeniable that its members - North Korea, Iran and Syria - collaborate closely in their joint war.

I can already anticipate the response of Bush haters and critics of the Iraq War: The cooperation of Syria, Iran and North Korea is the product of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime. Not so, as Ms. Glick explains:
Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, this is not a temporary alliance of convenience among three otherwise unrelated states. It is a strategic alignment of three regimes that have been acting in tandem on multiple levels for decades. Their collaborative operations have served two primary functions. First they cooperate in perpetuating their holds on power. This they do primarily through criminal enterprises. Second, they work together to wage war against their common foes. The second objective is advanced primarily through the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

Furthermore, all three regimes view diplomatic exchanges with their enemies not as a means to solve their disagreements with them, but as a means to gain advantage by forcing US, Israeli and international concessions that legitimize their regimes and enable them to continue to conduct their war.

TIES BETWEEN the countries have been developing since the 1980s. That cooperation blossomed into a full-scale alliance during the 1990s. This is notable because the 1990s marked the period when both US and Israeli foreign policies centered on repeated attempts to appease all three governments.

This is an important column. Please give it the attention it deserves. One only hopes that it is read by a Democrat or two.


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