NEW YORK – Fifteen years after George W. Bush declared that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea formed “an axis of evil,” Donald Trump, in his maiden address to the United Nations, denounced Iran and North Korea in similarly vitriolic terms. Words have consequences, and Trump’s constitute a dire and immediate threat to global peace, just as Bush’s words did in 2002.
For Trump, as for Bush, there is Good (America) and Evil (Afghanistan under the Taliban, Iran, North Korea, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein). America the Good makes demands on the evildoers. If the evildoers do not comply, America can exercise the “military option” or impose punitive sanctions to enforce “justice” as the United States defines it.
Bush applied the logic of force vis-à-vis Afghanistan and the “axis of evil,” with disastrous results. The US quickly overthrew the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2002 but could not secure order. Fifteen years on, the Taliban controls considerable territory, and Trump has just ordered an increase in troops. America has spent roughly $800 billion in direct military outlays in Afghanistan, and indeed has been at war there almost non-stop since the CIA covertly intervened in 1979, helping to provoke the Soviet invasion of that country.
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