The Axis of Evil is losing spokes

North Korea is about all that's left

WASHINGTON, D.C. - What’s next, a deal with Iran?

The Axis of Evil is pretty much down to a Spoke of Mischief in the form of that dreaded slayer of American Bro humor, North Korea.

Cuba, of course, was not technically part of any axis. It was merely a Cold War relic. After we’d buddied up with China and drew the Iron Curtain, Cuba was all that was left of a great era in global feuding. The lingering absurdity of America’s shunning of Cuba only mattered to politicians pandering for votes in Florida. Cuba is about as relevant to our national security as Manitoba.

George W. Bush made a good show of making enemies with his clever Axis of Evil concept, really a classic geopolitical branding.

But what’s left?

We’re in deep negotiations with Iran and we are essentially their ally in pseudo-fighting against ISIS.

Iraq is now a spastic puppet state, still a great danger – to itself.

That’s two off the axis.

Only North Korea remains and they cannot be considered a worthy adversary of a great superpower like the U.S.A. 

If it turns out that they really did hack Sony and interrupted America’s strategic supply of idiotic comedy, it would indeed be an act of global villainy right up there with the Rape of the Sabine Women and the annexation of the Sudetenland.  My guess is the whole hacking thing is a brilliant Sony PR stunt.

The bottom line is that America is in real danger of being a superpower with nobody to use our superpowers against. That can’t be good for anyone.

We’ve always had an enemy.

First it was England.  Then it was Native Americans. The Confederacy came next. Then came a period of history no one can remember anything about because there were no enemies.

Luckily, the 20th century was chock-full o’ enemies.

We had the Germans, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and then the first Axis – Germany, Italy and Japan. Then came the Cold War, the big enchilada of global good and evil.

A now? Bupkis.

Yes, you can make a case for Al Qaida and the War on Terror. But that doesn’t hack it. There is no nation-state involved, no standing army and no geopolitical threat. OPEC is defanged and China is a giant trading partner, the ultimate frenemy state.

The world is still full of sadistic, cruel regimes dedicated to the misery of their own people. But we are good at ignoring them and certainly don’t consider them enemies. We are much more worried about a scandal in Hollywood than we are about the slaughter of school children in Mexico and Pakistan.

I’m thinking our best hope is still Russia. Putin has many of the qualities of an arch-villain and the oligarchs made for some excellent henchmen. The Crimea Putsch was one of the best modern iterations of 19th century territorial warfare.

But I’ll miss not being able to sleep at night because of the imminent threat from Castro’s Cuba. You never know how good you have it until it’s gone.

[Also by Dick Meyer: Does media saturation warp our sense of reality?]

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