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This article appears in the February 15, 2002 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Worldwide Opposition Rises to
Bush's 'Axis of Evil' Statement

by Jeffrey Steinberg

[PDF version of this article]

There is little doubt, in the minds of the vast majority of world leaders, and even among more sane elements within the U.S. political establishment, that President George W. Bush "lost it" during his State of the Union speech on Jan. 29, when he lashed out at the freshly minted "axis of evil," comprised of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, and warned that the United States would take preemptive action against any states threatening world security with the use of weapons of mass destruction.

But the real "story behind the story" being pursued by EIR investigators, is that President Bush, who came into office ill-prepared to handle the immense array of crises facing the United States and the world, is now, himself, facing political blackmail pressure from a combination of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the so-called "New Democrats" of Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.). The operations against the President being run by the McCain-Lieberman-DLC crowd, do not excuse the President's flight forward into the clutches of those behind the Sept. 11 attempted coup d'état against his Presidency. But they represent an important piece of the picture, and a key to freeing the Bush Administration from a potentially disastrous turn, which can still be reversed.

A Firestorm of Protest

In his State of the Union address, the President declared, "States like these [Iran, Iraq, North Korea] and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world... All nations should know America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.... I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."

The President's speech precipitated a firestorm of protests, from government officials, political leaders, and editorial writers from an amazing array of nations, including many traditionally allied with the United States, and almost all of which actively participated in the "coalition" war in Afghanistan.

  • Javier Solana, former Secretary General of NATO, who is now the European Union's foreign policy and defense chief, told reporters on Feb. 4 that Bush's "axis of evil" formula "is a statement which will not carry any meaning." He singled out Bush's targetting of Iran, reporting that the EU "is working on a possible agreement with Iran which is in the making," to back up the moderate forces. "We would like to see Iran playing a role ... as an important regional power for a constructive and stable region." He made the statements after he and two other EU officials concluded nine hours of closed-door meetings with top Iranian government officials.

  • The same day, the chairman of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP), Guido Westerwelle, called on Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to voice public opposition to the Bush "axis of evil" formula. "If we are partners in NATO," he told German reporters, "we must talk to each other at the same level.... There is a real deficit here.... We need resolute protests from the side of the Europeans."

  • The German state-owned radio, Deutschlandfunk, aired a broadcast on the evening of Feb. 4, labelling the "axis of evil talk" a threat to world peace. Maybe the Bush language was "just muscle-flexing, but it cannot be that this dangerous holding of a fuse on a geopolitical powder keg is accepted without opposition."

  • Germany's Deputy Foreign Minister, Ludger Volmer, told German national television's ZDF "Morgenmagazin" program on Feb. 4, "We Europeans are warning against a strike on Iraq; we have no evidence whatsoever of Iraq's alleged support of terrorism."

  • The chief foreign policy spokesman of the German Christian Democratic Union, Karl Lamers, simply stated that "it cannot be that you [the United States] decide, and we follow."

  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, in Munich for the annual Wehrkunde international security conference, rejected the Bush targetting of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, countering that some American allies, including Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, have been sponsoring terrorism in Afghanistan and Chechnya, which the United States does not like to talk about. Ivanov was joined in his criticisms by Dmitri Rogozin, the powerful chairman of the international relations committee of the Russian Duma, who told the Iranian news agency, IRNA, that "Iran is not Afghanistan, nor will global conditions allow for the formation of an anti-Iran coalition.... The cases of Iran and Iraq are different from that of Afghanistan." Rogozin issued his statements following a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Russia.

Also in Asia, Mideast

  • Indian Chief National Security Adviser Braheesh Mishra sharply rejected the "axis" line, telling AFP news agency that terrorism can only be "tackled effectively with a global and comprehensive approach. Compartmentalized national approaches cannot advance our collective purpose of crushing terrorism, since terrorism has developed a seamless web of international linkages."

  • China's Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Yi issued a strongly worded repudiation of the U.S. targetting of the three nations, arguing that the war on terrorism cannot be "arbitrarily widened." Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, published an editorial on Feb. 3, warning against the United States widening of the "war on terrorism." "No small number of people suspect that by labelling Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as an 'axis of evil,' the United States seeks to prepare public opinion for possible strikes against those countries under the banner of anti-terrorism. Using the word 'axis' makes people think of the powerful military alliance formed by fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan, which turned the world upside down with their atrocities." Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told reporters that "the Chinese side does not advocate using this kind of language in international relations."

  • Al Riyad, a major Saudi Arabian newspaper, in an unusual break with Washington, editorialized, "The sole superpower is alone taking decisions to put the whole world under its mandate. President Bush is [behaving] arbitrarily to impose American domination on the world."

  • France's combative Foreign Minister, Hubert Védrine, told Radio France International on Feb. 6, "We are threatened, today, by a new simplicity that wants to solve the problems of the world through the fight against terrorism, alone, and that is not serious." He criticized the American tendency to approach global affairs "in a unilateral fashion, without consulting others based on their interpretations of their interests." This approach, he warned, "poses a major problem for the regulation of globalization.... The Europeans are, today, not on line with the policy of the White House toward the Mideast, and they think that it is a mistake to support the policy of pure repression that Ariel Sharon pursues." Védrine, while saying that the three states singled out by President Bush do pose problems for international security, "there are other factors of risk of the Mideast conflict, which are as threatening, but find no mention by President Bush."

The criticisms of the "axis of evil" hype were not restricted to foreign government officials alone. According to the Feb. 4 Washington Post, Brent Scowcroft, the chairman of President Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and the elder George Bush's National Security Adviser (1989-93), told reporters on the plane, returning from the Wehrkunde meeting, "The Americans and the Europeans are drifting apart, and that partly affects the course of the war on terrorism." Citing the "axis of evil" statements, Scowcroft said, "I really don't know what it was designed to do." He argued that the next phase of the war on terrorism will be fought in the domain of intelligence activity, and the full cooperation of the Europeans and other nations will be essential. Robert Hunter, a former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, told the Post that Bush's formulation "sent absolutely the wrong signal to the allies."

If success in the war on terrorism is to be realized, the United States must work with Russia, China, and India The three Asian powers have greatly advanced the idea of a "strategic triangle" of cooperation in the past several weeks, highlighted by high-level diplomatic visits by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Beijing and New Delhi, and by Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji's earlier groundbreaking visit to New Delhi (see article in Economics).

Prior to the State of the Union provocation, all three Asian powers had been deeply involved in cooperation with Washington, in the anti-terror campaign. The message coming out of Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi now, is clear: The cooperation and partnership with Washington can move forward, but not if the Bush Administration pursues such insanely provocative policies as those implicit in the "axis of evil" formula.

What is driving President Bush to pursue such a patently self-destructive course of action?

The 'McCain Factor'

As LaRouche has written, in a soon-to-be-released LaRouche in 2004 campaign special report, Zbigniew Brzezinski and September 11, President Bush was able to surpress, but not crush, the military coup d'état attempt, behind the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, through close collaboration with Russian President Vladmir Putin. This well-documented President-to-President collaboration averted a potential United States/Russia thermonuclear escalation, and temporarily defeated a policy putsch, aimed at drawing the United States into the "clash of civilizations" global religious war, promoted by Samuel Huntington, Bernard Lewis, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and aggressively pursued by Ariel Sharon and the Israeli Defense Forces command.

The lunatic Anglo-American faction behind the Huntington-Brzezinski drive for a global Thirty Years War, is principally motivated by the fact that their post-Bretton Woods international financial and monetary system is on its last legs. They fear that there is growing momentum toward a new set of strategic arrangements, based on Lyndon LaRouche's Eurasian Land-Bridge proposals—arrangements that would strip them of their hoped-for ability to shape the post-crash world system to their own benefit.

For the desperate financier oligarchs behind the drive for a new Eurasian conflagration, world war is preferable to a revival of American System political and economic relations among leading sovereign nation-states, led by the United States, Russia, China, India, and Western Europe.

It is in this context that Senator McCain, President Bush's rival for the 2000 Republican Party Presidential nomination—or a possible third-party alternative—has surfaced in recent weeks as a prop in the ongoing effort to draw the Bush Administration into the trap. McCain has been cast in the role of the clash of civilizations faction's very own "Manchurian Candidate."

Much of the story behind the McCain operation was exposed in the Feb. 4 issue of New Yorker magazine, which published a promotional piece for McCain by Nicholas Lermann. The story touted the prospects of a McCain third-party Presidential bid in 2004, modelled on Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 "Bull Moose" candidacy, which defeated the reelection bid of his fellow Republican, William Howard Taft, and threw the Presidency to Democrat Woodrow Wilson, a pawn of the British Fabian circles of H.G. Wells. As with the 1912 Roosevelt-Wilson collusion, McCain today is in bed with Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Al Gore's 2000 Vice Presidential running-mate, who is today the Democratic Leadership Council's favored candidate for the 2004 Democratic Party Presidential nomination.

Lermann spelled out the McCain blackmail game against the President: "What works best for McCain right now," he explained, "is a dynamic in which he keeps presenting tests to Bush, with the idea that, if Bush flunks, McCain might be motivated to run for President. Bush has to keep placating him, and if he doesn't, McCain gets to run on the basis of principle, rather than ambition.... The conduct of the war is an ongoing test, in which McCain is monitoring Bush for signs of getting soft because of a fear of asking Americans to sacrifice in an election year."

McCain and Lieberman have made no secret of their collusion to force President Bush to adopt precisely the flight-forward against such Mideastern targets as Iran and Iraq, that was seen in the State of the Union tirade. The two men led a Senate delegation to Central Asia and Afghanistan during the Congressional recess, and used the opportunity to press for the rapid launching of "Phase II" of the war on terrorism—centered in the Mideast.

The two Senators, along with the Bush Administration's leading "Sharonist," Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and Defense Policy Board chairman and long-suspected Israeli agent Richard Perle, led the U.S. delegation to the Wehrkunde security conference in Munich from Feb. 2-3 (see accompanying article). While Wolfowitz was constrained by the fact that he was the senior representative of the Bush Administration at the event, and his speech text was clearly worked over by the office of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, McCain and Lieberman were free to behave like a pair of insane provocateurs: which is exactly what they did.

Addressing the conference on Sept. 2, McCain invoked the "axis of evil" formula: "Just this week, the American people heard our President articulate a policy to defeat the axis of evil that threatens us with its support for terror and development of weapons of mass destruction. Dictators that harbor terrorists and build these weapons are now on notice that such behavior is, in itself, a casus belli."

McCain zeroed in on Iraq: "Nowhere is such an ultimatum more applicable than in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Almost everyone familiar with Saddam's record of biological weapons development over the past two decades agrees that he surely possesses such weapons. He also possesses vast stocks of chemical weapons and is known to have aggressively pursued, with some success, the development of nuclear weapons. He is the only dictator on Earth who has actually used weapons of mass destruction against his own people and neighbors. His regime has been implicated in the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center. Terrorist training camps exist on Iraqi soil, and Iraqi officials are known to have had a number of contacts with al-Qaeda."

McCain then got to the point: "A day of reckoning is approaching. Not simply for Saddam Hussein, but for all members of the Atlantic community, whose governments face the choice of ending the threat we face every day from this rogue regime, or carrying on as if such behavior, in the wake of Sept. 11, were somehow still tolerable.... The combined examples of regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq would likely compel several other state sponsors of terror to change their ways or go out of business, accomplishing by example what we would otherwise have to pursue through force of arms. These nations—Syria and Sudan, for instance—have a choice, and it is in their interest to make the right one."

The next day, in his own speech, Lieberman fully endorsed McCain's incendiary message: "We cannot claim victory in our war against terrorism until we decisively address the profound threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. As President Bush declared on Tuesday in his State of the Union address, 'America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.' "

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