The Corner

Axis of Evil

Part of the fall-out from the North Korean nuclear test and the Iranian crisis has been renewed condemnation of Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech.  There’s analysis in today’s Washington Post entitled, “Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ Comes Back to Haunt United States.”  Some critics argue that Bush’s language was unhelpful and that his diplomacy and rhetoric antagonized key allies.  Others say the war in Iraq distracted.  Let’s be fair:  To condemn the Axis of Evil speech is to condemn Bush for prescience.  He didn’t create the Axis of Evil; rather, he voiced the problem.  And if that shocked European diplomats, well too bad.  If it’s a choice between national security and enabling European diplomats to remain secure in their illusions, I’d hope both Republicans and Democrats would favor the former.  Clinton administration attempts to engage the Taliban and the North Korean regime were folly.  Any attempt to do likewise with Iran would be equally inane.  Certain regimes cannot be appeased.  Dialogue is no panacea.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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