If media reports of last week's IAF raid in Syria pan out, the attack against a North-Korean-supplied Syrian nuclear facility in eastern Syria should serve as a pivotal event in the free world's understanding of the enemy it faces in the current global war. The central question now is whether this clarity will be followed by a strategic shift in the US and Israeli governments' conceptualizations of the challenges facing them in the various theaters of war and diplomacy in which they are now engaged.
What the raid exposed is that the free world faces a cohesive alliance of enemy forces that collaborate closely in their joint and separate offensives against their common foes. Whether or not it is called the axis of evil, after the IAF raid it is undeniable that its members - North Korea, Iran and Syria - collaborate closely in their joint war.
Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, this is not a temporary alliance of convenience among three otherwise unrelated states. It is a strategic alignment of three regimes that have been acting in tandem on multiple levels for decades. Their collaborative operations have served two primary functions. First they cooperate in perpetuating their holds on power. This they do primarily through criminal enterprises. Second, they work together to wage war against their common foes. The second objective is advanced primarily through the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
Furthermore, all three regimes view diplomatic exchanges with their enemies not as a means to solve their disagreements with them, but as a means to gain advantage by forcing US, Israeli and international concessions that legitimize their regimes and enable them to continue to conduct their war.
TIES BETWEEN the countries have been developing since the 1980s. That cooperation blossomed into a full-scale alliance during the 1990s. This is notable because the 1990s marked the period when both US and Israeli foreign policies centered on repeated attempts to appease all three governments.
In 1994, the US embraced appeasement of North Korea when it signed the Agreed Framework that maintained the economic viability of the North Korean regime in exchange for Pyongyang's pledge to end its nuclear weapons program. The US appeased Teheran by embracing the supposedly moderate government of president Muhammad Khatami, and downplayed Iran's role in terrorist bombings of US targets like the 1996 Iranian-ordered bombing of the US Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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