The term "Axis of Oil" has been around for several years, at least, and means different things, depending on who's using it. This week, it's the CIA director, Michael Hayden, using "Axis of Oil" to mean Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and their common interest as oil-rich nations.
He says that the Axis of Oil, and fragile North Korea, are some of the top security issues the next president will have.
According to Mr. Hayden, North Korea's restart of its nuclear program may be for real, or a political gesture. North Korea's leaders are very good at applying diplomatic pressure, so removing U.N. seals could be a matter of raising the ante. Or, they may really think that they need nuclear bombs to protect themselves from American imperialism. In which case, it's anyone's guess what city will be vaporized first.
About Iran, Mr. Hayden says that the Ayatollahs could have nuclear bombs around the middle of the next decade. Or, they could delay their program. On the other hand, they could speed it up. It's their call.
I'm a little more comfortable with atomic Ayatollahs, than with Kim Jong Il deciding what to do with nuclear bombs. As I see it:
- The Ayatollahs would rather have live converts than a nuclear afterglow, so they're a little less likely to have a fit and start lobbing A-bombs
- North Korea may not be so comparatively rational
- Kim Jong Il has inspired cracks like "Our Dictator is Crazier than Your Dictator"
- He may be dead or incapacitated, in which case a North Korean general with less sense than Dear Leader might decide to use his bombs, to
- Defend North Korea or
- Show how strong he was
The next American president, and everyone else, will be living in a world which most likely will have:
- Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad on a petrodollar high
- Nuclear weapons controlled by
- The Ayatollahs and
- Either an arguably-crazy dictator or the generals scrambling to take his place
In the news:
- "CIA Director: North Korea, 'Axis of Oil' Pose Greatest Security Challenges for Next President" FOXNews (October 2, 2008)