March 11, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Axis of Evil

"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil,
arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of
mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger."
— President Bush, State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002

So far this year, our attention has been focused on only two of the three countries President Bush named in his "axis of evil" speech. War against Iraq seems imminent, and a diplomatic crisis emerges on the Korean peninsula. While antiwar protests, weapons inspections and nuclear saber-rattling have distracted the world, Iran has kept to itself, quietly going about its business. Now, thanks to U.N. inspectors, it has become apparent just what that business is.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently concluded his inspections in Iraq and moved on to Iran. There, he and his team of inspectors discovered that Iran was building a facility to enrich uranium—and they found that work on the facility had progressed much further than suspected. Moreover, sources inside the IAEA disclosed that Iran had already operated some prohibited centrifuges in an effort to test their uranium-enrichment processes. An expert from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said that such an act would constitute a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and would be cause for immediate referral to the U.N. Security Council.

Iran, of course, claims that its nuclear program is for strictly peaceful purposes, but one can't help wondering why a country so rich in gas and oil resources needs nuclear energy. The answer may lie in the fact that uranium is an integral element in advanced nuclear weapons. Whatever the case may be, this news makes the already-edgy situation in the Middle East all the more delicate.

A U.S. invasion of Iraq will likely make Iran even more nervous than President Bush's "axis of evil" comment. Such military action might spur Iran to accelerate their nuclear program even further. On the other hand, if Iraq remains unchallenged, increasing tensions between Iran and Iraq could explode like they did in the 1980s—only this time, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons could bring Armageddon down on the Middle East.

Regardless of what happens in Iraq, the U.S./U.N. must handle Iran very delicately. An undercurrent of progressiveness amongst young Iranians has grown stronger in recent years. Handled deftly, this political tension could bring about a bloodless, democratic revolution in the Islamic country. But if the brinksmanship being used on Iraq is applied to Iran, it could unite young progressives with the autocratic Muslim clerics who run the country, making a bad situation much worse.


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

Today's Column
Send a Comment


3/10: Writing Kept Me From Writing
3/9: King Arthur
3/8: The Women are Smarter
3/7: Salt on Old Wounds
3/6: 3/3/03, 3:33 p.m.
3/5: Beer Day
3/4: Pulling the Trigger
3/3: Make 'Em Laugh
3/2: Whither Iraq?
3/1: Strickland Cellars
Previous months in The Archive

Like what you've read?
Find more good reading on

In Association with

(and support future Daily Stricks!)