Monday, April 8, 2013

North Korea, Iran and Syria; an Axis empowered by our appeasement

'States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.’

Once ridiculed as the oratory of a simple mind, Bush’s warning has now arrived at hard fruition. For even as we debate the policy prescriptions that defined his Presidency, Bush’s prognosis was right. A new alliance of totalitarians stands in contest with global security. And enthroned on the bodies of the oppressed, the leaders of North Korea, Iran and the successor to Saddam’s Iraq – Syria, are far more than adversaries of America, they’re an axis against humanity.

Neglecting this truth, we’re endangering the cause of peace.

Since 2009, the Obama Administration and its allies have embraced the belief that consistent engagement can positively transform any adversary. After ten years of war, this is a tempting understanding. 

Tempting but misguided.

Consider the new axis against us.

In North Korea, we find the part-clown, part-monster, Kim Jong-Un. Reinforced by decades of appeasement, Kim’s a trend setter for nuclear extortion. 

In face of his threats, the United States faces a choice – to fold or to hold. The right answer is to hold. After all, by starting a war, the North Korean elite know they would lose both life and luxury

Regrettably though, calls for negotiation are once again increasing. This is an inexcusable neglect of history - compliance in the face of intimidation only encourages greater hostility. If we want to change Kim’s behavior, we must do so now.

Next there’s Syria.

Celebrated by Vogue, blessed as a reformer by Hillary Clinton and labeled the road to peace by Nancy Pelosi, for over two years now, Assad has massacred his people. A rampage which reaches new levels each passing month. Protected by Capo Putin and supported by the faux liberators, Hezbollah, Assad clings to power. The Chinese don’t care, the EU is impotent and we’re timid. We could provide select rebel groups with arms, but no, that would be too complicated. Instead, we offer red lines of a thousand shades and equivocations of the highest order.

And the Syrian people hear our message - Let them die.

Then there’s the final member of the modern axis. Iran. Founded in the spirit of revolution, Iran’s regime is now an unashamed terrorist state. At home and abroad, the violent theocrats seek to spread their iron rule. We’ve acquiesced to their campaigns of murder. In 2009, when Iranians rose to protest another stolen election, President Obama stayed quiet. Why no condemnation? The White House doesn’t like meddling.

Yes, the President has adopted aggressive espionage efforts against Iran’s nuclear program. However, these actions are disconnected from diplomatic endeavor. In negotiations with Iran, instead of requiring compliance, the President has chosen to support the European position of floating appeasement. A flawed strategy for a gleeful Ayatollah. 

Be under no illusions, if you think a nuclear North Korea is bad, you’re not going to like a nuclear Iran.

This begs the question, why has our policy gone so wrong?

Pretty simple. Those who support limitless negotiations mistake the axis rulers for semi-reasonable men. A terrible error. These rulers are disinterested in honest relations. Just look at their myths of self-identification. In North Korea, Iran and Syria, we have the absurd union of communist orthodoxy, Shia fundamentalism and secular nepotism. Ideologies with as much affinity as PETA and the Fur industry. And yet, they stand together. The sustaining unifier? Their mutual desire for domination and their shared hatred towards the common obstacle in that pursuit, America. 

Power not autonomy, is their unyielding end game.

So what should we do?

Clearly, none of us want war. But our choice is not between appeasement and war. Courageous, principled diplomacy can achieve the lasting security that we seek. We must not legitimate nuclear blackmail. In the nuclear age, the threat of despotism is multiplied both in reach and in magnitude. Here resides our challenge and our responsibility. Cognizant in our greater strength, we must restrain those who chose intimidation as their instrument of power. 

If we don’t, our appeasement will find it’s way to a bloody end.


  1. Ok, I think you go a bit over the top in this post, especially with the end reference.

    I really dislike the idea of treating Iran, North Korea, and Syria as some sort of "Axis of evil". The difference between these failed experiments and isolated countries is that the real "Axis of evil" (and even the Soviet Union during the Cold War) posed a legitimate threat to Western Europe and the United States. The countries that you mention above are merely blips on the radar.

    Also, these countries aren't irrational, at least in the sense that you think they are. If these regimes are truly crazy, like Iran for instance, why doesn't Iran just go out and attack Israel right now. The fact is, no government in history (as far as I know) has willfully pursed policies that have resulted in their destruction for some "greater" cause. Given that Iran the last 30 years has been primarily concerned with self preservation against Western hegemony in that region, I see no reason why their policy would suddenly change even if they did manage to get their hands on a nuke.

    Also consider how agressive Israel foreign policy has been over since its inception. You could argue that it's been that way for good reason (which I think is a legitimate argument, but I don't want to get into the specifics), but there is no denying that Israel is a bulldog (especially under Netanyahu), and it's been pressuring Iran ever since the 1979 Iranian revolution (Again, the story is more complicated, but I don't think we need to go into the specifics).

  2. Thanks for the comment. I disagree with you when you say that Iran and North Korea are not threats. I think they very clearly are. Certainly in the context of their prospective ICBM developments over the near to medium term.

    I don't believe that the Iranians are irrational in the moment, but rather that their rationality is tied to an irrational end game-

    And I would also disagree with you concerning Iran's intentions - they want an expanded arc of Shia theocracy across the Middle/Near East. IMO, their concern for realist self-preservation is subjugated to this pursuit.