President Bush put on a brilliant display of diplomatic failure with his State of the Union address on Jan. 29. By referring to Iraq, North Korea, and perhaps most stupidly Iran, as the "axis of evil" he has set himself up for confrontation and criticism.
Not only do these three nations fail to pose a significant threat to the United States, but to use such a historically charged phrase as "axis of evil" in such a context is inappropriate. Furthermore, he has upset the delicate balance of Iran's current position from neutrality to one of forced opposition to the war on terrorism.
In the 1930s, three emerging powers, Hirohito's Japan, Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany became known as the "Axis powers" and later as the "axis of evil."
These three nations displayed aggressive expansionism and committed unprecedented domestic atrocities. They governed with varying degrees of fascism and were loosely united in their quest for total world
domination. This trio posed a very serious threat to the security of the world, and it
took a great global effort to halt their
expansion, an event now known as World War II.
It's flabbergasting that Mr. Bush saw it fit, in light of the present international crisis, to name three relatively harmless but hostile nations as the "axis of evil" of the 21st century.
Iran, Iraq and North Korea combined do not rival the might of Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. None have been aggressors in recent history, outside of Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. None of the September 11 terrorists were even from any of these nations.
In fact, the people of North Korea, Iraq and Iran generally have no hatred of the United States. Rather, most see it as a land of opportunity and freedom, a place many aspire to immigrate to, as do people of nearly every third world nation.
Upon further investigation, one would find that "cooperative" nations such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the largest thorns in the American side when it comes to stamping out terrorism. More than half of the September 11 terrorists came from these two nations.
We must also remember that it was Egyptians who allegedly masterminded the 1994 bombing of the World Trade Center and that American military bases in Saudi Arabia have been the targets of numerous attacks by terrorists.
America could easily demand that its friends rid their nations of terrorism, just
as it does for its enemies, but it chooses
If Bush was truly intent on rooting out international terrorism, he would have the balls to call it like it is. By only seeing what he wants to see, Bush trivializes America's international crusade and jeopardizes global support.
His accusations will alienate those who nervously support him, such as Russia and China, reducing the essential global scale of the war. Many nations currently supporting Bush would likely reconsider
their positions if this mission against
terrorism begins to look more and more
like America's personal war against its own enemies.
Iran's declaration of sympathy for the victims of the tragedy in New York and Washington was a show of respect for the people of the United States.
Unfortunately, Mr. Bush failed to harvest the first grains of cooperation between Iran and America since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Instead, his words have insulted a nation's people whose support he needs very badly right now.
What he seemingly fails to realize is that international diplomacy is not a grand old game of Risk. Words are not taken lightly
and he cannot insult whomever he wishes, let his friends off easy, be inconsistent in his actions and resolve and still expect the complete and undying support of the international community.
America cannot go it alone in this war on terrorism, but if George Bush keeps it up, they may have to try.