Motoring Con Brio, known here as commenter "mtc" recently asked where North Korea now lies in terms of the world's most problematic regimes. Well, let's take a look.
First, I was always under the impression that when George W. Bush created the term "Axis of Evil", the member countries were Syria, North Korea, and Iran. I was wrong. Here are the "bad guys" and what has happened to them since Bush's presidency.
"Axis of Evil" (Bush):
- Iraq: Bush successful ousted and captured Saddam. He was a pain in the ass for his neighbors. Sectarian violence is still a daily occurrence. Plus, with the Shiite majority now in power, Iran has a new ally.
- North Korea: With the death of Kim Jong-Il, the country may open up economically like China and Vietnam. It will remain a dictatorship though. North-South relations will probably be more amicable and cooperative.
- Iran: With American troops to its west in Afghanistan and to its east in Iraq, of course it wanted to develop more lethal weapons. A lackluster economy, coupled with political machinations between and amongst the civilian and theocratic leaders, will mean that its threat is grossly inflated, thanks to hawks in the U.S. and Israel.
"Beyond the Axis of Evil" (John "Mustache" Bolton)
- Cuba: Cuba is such a non-threat, it's not even funny. It reached its height of power decades ago when it sent troops to Angola to fight the South African proxies. Raul Castro may want to liberalize, but the pace is simply too slow. The Old Guard needs to die of old age before any substantive changes can take place. I doubt Obama will lift the embargo in his second term and Romney certainly won't.
- Libya: Gaddafi is roasting in hell now, if it exists. It looks like the transition to democracy has been relatively uneventful.
- Syria: Assad is almost powerless now. He may do something rash as a last gasp for air. But after he falls, Syria is going to see even more violence, religious persecution, and possibly small-scale genocide.
"Outposts of Tyranny" (Condoleezza Rice)
- Belarus: The last dictatorship in Europe. It sucks for its citizens, but is of no consequence to outsiders.
- Zimbabwe: White farmers and the local middle class have been screwed, but Mugabe and his Hitler mustache can't live forever.
- Myanmar: The partial relinquishing of power by the military junta was unexpected. With the influx of foreign capital, there is much hope. A spotlight needs to be shone on the continued persecution of ethnic minorities and Muslims though.