When President Bush gave the State of the Union speech in 2002, it was one of those magnificent historical events in the Anglosphere. It hearkened back to President Reagan’s Westminster speech and Churchill’s Battle of Britain Speech.
This State of the Union speech was the formal declaration of war against the post-cold war threats of the 21st century emphasizing the president's declaration that he would not wait for threats to materialize before taking action. In that speech, President Bush coined the term, “the axis of evil,” referring to the three regimes that fit this evil definition, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Thus, under the Bush Doctrine, American foreign policy was moved from simply pursuing Al Qaeda to a worldwide crusade against the combined forces of extremism and WMDs. The speech set out the premise of the Bush Doctrine: preemption, prevention, and the ‘non-negotiable’ demand for liberty fulfilled by American primacy.
President Bush clearly affirmed, “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”
In 2010, the “Axis of Resistance” was declared by Iran, Syria, and Hamas, the very entities that drink at the same evil wellspring that President Bush warned against.
The United States hit back forcefully this month when National Security Adviser John Bolton proclaimed his “Troika of Tyranny” speech at the Freedom Tower in Miami, calling out Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Bolton, who also referred to this grouping as the triangle of terror declared: “In Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, we see the perils of poisonous ideologies left unchecked and the dangers of domination and suppression… This Troika of Tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere.”
Regarding Cuba, Bolton emphasized the need for free elections, assembly, expression, freeing of political prisoners, and the legalization of political parties. The atrocities committed by the Cuban communist regime can’t be forgotten or ignored. Despite, and in spite of, the Obama administration’s willingness to sacrifice human rights on the altar of left-wing romantic notions concerning murderers like Che Guevara. Bolton condemned both Venezuela and Nicaragua for continued repression, violence, election fraud, and setting their countries on a path of economic ruin.
The media has focused primarily on two issues. One, they claimed, was a cynical attempt to help Republicans in Florida by pandering to Cuban-American voters. Second, was for some media outlets to highlight Bolton’s criticisms, while engaging in apologetics for the same regimes. What is lost is a historical context.
Cuba was the epicenter of Soviet operations against its own people and the United States during the Cold War. Cuban Intelligence, the DGI, was and is the main arm of terror not only inside of Cuba but also abroad. It is one of those amazing examples of an arm of the state acting like a terrorist organization. Cuba is notorious for its labor camps, torture, and murder of its own population, the destruction of churches, the imprisonment of pastors, and an overarching tyranny that has attempted to destroy the spirit of the Cuban people. Venezuela and Nicaragua are only “better” by degree. Both governments have engaged in torture, brutality, election fraud, false imprisonment, executions, the use and pay of mobs to engage in violence against political opponents, destruction of the rule of law, the confiscation of private property, and persecution. Amnesty International reports that the Venezuelan government alone has murdered over 8,000 people from 2015 to 2017.
Where is the media outcry about this? Why divert attention to discussing Floridian congressional midterm elections while such human rights atrocities are occurring?
National Security Advisor Bolton made a bold and dynamic statement in line with the noblest expressions of American foreign policy. Americans should rally to this, and condemn real evil when we see it.
Dr. Lamont Colucci has experience as a diplomat with the U.S. Dept. of State and is today an Associate Professor of Politics and Government at Ripon College. He has published two books as the sole author entitled "Crusading Realism: The Bush Doctrine and American Core Values After 9/11," and a two-volume series entitled "The National Security Doctrines of the American Presidency: How they Shape our Present and Future." He was contributing author of two books entitled "The Day That Changed Everything: Looking at the Impact of 9/11 at the End of the Decade" and "Homeland Security and Intelligence." He is also Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council, Senior Advisor in National Security for Contingent Security, Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, to the Conference of Defence Associations Institute and member of the National Task Force on National and Homeland Security. Find out more at lamontcolucci.com.