Axis of Evil and Evil Empires

George W. Bush set us on our current political course by announcing that as a nation we faced an axis of evil -- Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. That pronouncement of course led to war in Iraq and current stand offs with Iran and North Korea (one hot war, 2 cold ones).

Ronald Reagan, of course, had his "Evil Empire." That empire fell, but seems to be reconstituting itself.

The point of these pronouncements is that there is evil in the world and we are on the side of right.

Of course, this is nothing new. Walter Russell Mead, in his book God and Gold, which I'm currently reading, suggests that the Anglo-American self-understanding posits our being on the side of God.

For Elizabeth I that evil was Spain and the Catholics. Oliver Cromwell had a similar axis of evil -- but his included royalists, Catholics, and their Continental supporters.

England's enemies, he said, are all the wicked men of the world, whether
abroad or at home . . . "


"Truly," said Cromwell, your great enemy is the Spaniard . . . through that
enmity that is in him against all that is of God that is in you."

It was a battle between the children of Light and the children of Darkness. In time the enemy would shift from Spain to France and on through history. There has been in our psyche, inherited as a culture, to see ourselves as on the side of right. But fighting the good fight requires the building of alliances. (Mead, God and Gold, pp. 21-23).

As they say -- you're either with us or against us! And of course, beware of the 5th column -- the enemy within. So, as much as things change, the more they stay the same -- or at least it seems that way


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