[FOUNTAIN]The axis of axes

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[FOUNTAIN]The axis of axes

Roberto is a common Italian name. Until 15 days ago, there were three members of the Italian cabinet with that name. It was also a nickname for the alliance of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. Roberto was an abbreviation of Rome, Berlin and Tokyo. Thus, the Roberto “axis” was formed. An axis is a straight line on which a figure rotates. Mussolini used the term to mean that the world revolved around these three countries. U.S. President George W. Bush said that the expression, “axis of evil,” was inspired by Mussolini’s axis and former President Reagan’s “evil empire,” namely the Soviet Union. North Korea, Iran and Iraq were named as the central links in the proliferation of terrorism.
Since the “axis of evil” speech, various terms have been derived. “Axis of good” is the highlight of the trend. This year, three leftist Latin American leaders, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia, formed an alliance and advocated themselves as the axis of good.
To them, the United States is the “axis of evil.” Chavez called Bush “Hitler” and a terrorist. His policy focus is against American neo-liberalism. Morales said in April that Castro was his grandfather and Chavez his father, anointing himself as the son. The oil money of Venezuela is the adhesive of the axis of good and an engine of its expansion.
Next is the axis of oil. It is a term coined by an American scholar to describe oil producers under authoritarian regimes. The members include Venezuela, Iran under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. These oil producers wield political influence using oil as a weapon. Senator Joseph Biden has said the axis of oil was as big a threat as the axis of evil to the national security of the United States. And there was even a formula, that oil prices were inversely proportional to liberty.
“Axis of weasels” is a pun sarcastically referring to countries that did not support the United States and the United Kingdom during the invasion of Iraq.
The Economist, a British weekly magazine, recently called the partnership between U.S. President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair the “axis of feeble.” It was a mockery of the two lame-duck leaders.
Venezuela’s diplomatic delegation arrived in North Korea for a visit on Tuesday. There is something peculiar about the visit. Until the outcome is announced, let’s just call the two countries’ relationship the “axis of no neckties.” One thing common about the leaders of North Korea and Venezuela is their reluctance to wear suits.


by Oh Young-hwan

The writer is a deputy political news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.

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