How Washington Hawks Helped Create the New “Axis of Evil”
In 2002, President George W. Bush cited the now famous “axis of evil”—Iraq, Iran, and North Korea—as he tried to get the American people to look beyond those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and greenlight a global military campaign to “rid the world of the evil-doers.”
The result was the $8 trillion global war on terror that continues to this day.
Now, in the wake of the Hamas attacks in southern Israel one month ago, the same language is being employed to justify another massive increase in military spending. In a series of statements and interviews, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell defined a new axis of evil—Russia, China, and Iran—and argued the United States must simultaneously confront the threats posed by all of these regimes.
In his interview with Fox News, McConnell described the situation as he sees it:
If you go back to the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was widely said that we went into a holiday with history. We had a couple of conflicts related to terrorism in Afghanistan and in Iraq, but no big power competition. Fast forward to today, we still have the terrorist challenge, which the Israelis are trying to deal with. And we have big power competition, with China, Russia. So, in many ways the world is more in danger today than it has been in my lifetime.
On its face, this may seem like a good reason for taxpayers to tighten their belts and prepare for Washington to confiscate even more of their paychecks. But in reality McConnell is telling us to “fast forward” right over the important question of where these tensions came from.
A quick look at the history McConnell wants us to skip over reveals that he is presenting the situation exactly backwards. The geopolitical tensions with Russia, China, and Iran are the direct consequence of military spending gone awry.
At the beginning of McConnell’s “holiday with history,” the Communist regime in Moscow fell, and the Russian Federation took its place. The occasion marked not only the start of Washington’s unipolar moment but also the first opportunity for friendship between the governments of Russia and the United States in half a century.
Unfortunately, the decision was made early on not only to continue funding the anti-Soviet military alliance and its infrastructure in Western Europe, but to expand it toward Moscow. In his book Prisoners
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