The Corner

Axis of Evil

David Frum makes a good point about the possibility of al Quaeda and Iran working together undermining the glib skepticism from some quarters that the Axis of Evil wasn’t really an Axis. People who say it’s inconceivable that fanatical theocrats like al Quaeda would work with secular Iraq’s Baathists need to take a look at the Hitler-Stalin Pact to understand that common enemies make for common bonds.

Regardless, I have this weird feeling that there may be a whole lot of Axis-ing going on. Here’s one entirely unsubstantiated theory: North Korea is hassling us because Saddam has asked it to. We’ve heard all sorts of punditry about how Saddam is trying to undermine Western resolve by encouraging the anti-war crowd. Well, it’s certainly true that the “North Korea is a bigger threat” talking point is used in Congress, the UN and the op-ed pages every day. The more provocative Nort Korea’s behavior, the more compelling that talking point is.

So why not offer North Korea a few million in hard currency and maybe some promises of cheap or free oil assuming Saddam can stay in power? Perhaps Saddam is offering to pay top dollar for North Korea’s new nukes when they come on line and North Korea wants to make sure the US doesn’t take out its best customer.

North Korea, with its nuclear deterrence and a supine South Korea, might reason it can challenge the US quite a bit without risking an attack. Besides, it’s strategy to shake down the US is still operative. It just has more than one incentive for its misbehavior, because common enemies create common friends.


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