"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world." -George W. Bush, 29 January 2002.
Recently the Bush administration took a tentative first step in its policy toward Axis of Evil charter member Iran. Using an Iraqi government initiative as an opportunity, the United States agreed to meet with the representatives of Syria and Iran, along with those of other neighboring states, in hopes of addressing the troubles in Iraq from a regional perspective. With regard to Iran, what took so long?
When President Bush made his Axis of Evil speech shortly after 9/11, who could know that it contained not the rallying cry of FDR's Date of Infamy speech but was rather another in a number of strategic missteps of our own troubled times? First, the search for a metaphor that would unite and motivate Americans was not a bad idea. Reaching back to World War II and the days of isolation and appeasement that preceded it seemed a reasonable thing to do. Nevertheless, a major attack had occurred, and the public needed more than amorphous terrorist groups to blame.