Monday, March 01, 2004

The "Axis of Evil" mentality 

Some right-wing blogs are reporting that Syria and Iran have signed a "military pact," including exchange of missile technology. I'm dubious. Sunni Arab Syria, a monarchy, and Shiite Persian Iran, a theocracy, aren't very likely partners. Too many people on the right have a tendency to view the Middle East as a single monolithic entity, when in fact it has as many ethnic, religious and ideological divisions as any other world region.

These posts are indicative of a continued "Axis of Evil" mentality: any two countries that are enemies of the United States must therefore be friends with each other (a twisted variant of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?) More than that, they must be actively working together against the United States. The original Axis of Evil, consisting of Iran, Iraq and North Korea, was so laughable that I can't believe anyone took it seriously. Nobody would suggest that such bitter enemies as Iraq and Iran, who fought a brutal war from 1980-1988, were actively cooperating against the US. Even more absurd was the notion that North Korea's government, the most isolationist in the world, was actively cooperating with Iran and Iraq halfway around the globe. I'm not claiming that these countries were not a threat to the United States; but the term "axis" implies active cooperation, which is a laughable idea. Yet these ideas continue to carry a lot of weight in some circles, with Syria getting caught up in the mix now that Iraq has been taken care of.
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