Can America take on the new axis? Not under the current administration.
By Hunter Oswald
Almost eighty years after the end of World War II, America now faces a new Axis of Evil, consisting of a resurgent Russia in Europe, an aggressive Iran in the Middle East, and an expansionist China in the Asian-Pacific theater. In the past few weeks, all three nations have begun to exert themselves more on the world stage through aggression and fear. As Iran wages its proxy war with Israel, Russia, and China have further strengthened their “no limits” partnership to advance their agendas.
In July, Iran was inducted into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which has furthered cooperation between all three militarily, economically, and diplomatically. The induction of Iran into the SCO has been viewed by some as a means of strengthening what Iran’s government calls “the Triangular Alliance” between Iran, Russia, and China. This new alliance seeks to end the United States’ role as a global hegemon and implement itself as a global superpower.
This concerning alliance has caused members of Congress and the Secretary of State to truly grasp the danger this new authoritarian coalition poses. Following a recent Senate luncheon, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell dubbed this new cooperation between China, Russia, and Iran “the Axis of Evil.” Even Secretary of State Anthony Blinken realizes the threat and says that the recent developments between Russia, China, and Iran are now becoming deeply alarming for American security. Blinken acknowledged China-Russia’s “no limits” partnership as a key towards advancing their authoritarian views: “Beijing and Moscow are working together to make the world safe for autocracy through their ‘no limits’ partnership.”
Same Story, New Characters
Skeptics may dismiss the circumstances as pure coincidence, but the condition of each country is eerily similar to a member of the former Axis Powers. Putin’s desire to restore Russia’s mighty status on the world stage by reclaiming “lost” territory is incredibly similar to Hitler’s manipulation of the rest of Europe for Lebensraum for the Germanic people. Putin’s war in Ukraine is no different than Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia or Poland as both claimed to desire ethnic unity, while secretly advancing their own national interests.
The Iranian Mullahs, the Islamic clergy that runs Iran’s government, have also sought to turn Iran from a pariah state into a hegemon in the Middle East. The Mullahs’ goal resembles in many ways Mussolini’s desire to create a neo-roman empire in the Mediterranean. As much as Mussolini sought to use force, as he did in Ethiopia in 1935–1936 to secure Italy’s status as a major power in Europe, Iran has done the same through its use of proxies in the region and efforts to build an offensive and preventive military force.
Similarly to Imperial Japan, China has strong ambitions to cement itself as the sole Asiatic power. China has always resented the current international order due to a sense of inferiority in light of American diplomatic primacy across the Asia-Pacific region. China has felt exploited due to its isolationist policies, much like Imperial Japan. Now China seeks to make itself the sole power of the region. Military historian Victor David Hanson points out that China’s advances on the world stage are all but identical to Imperial Japan. In Hanson’s words, “Add everything up and China seems about as confident of the future as Japan once was in the 1930s.”
What is the American Response?
While some may view these comparisons as merely coincidental, these comparisons can not be taken lightly and American policymakers can not only understand their motives but also assist in creating an effective strategy to stop “the Axis of Evil.” As China, Russia, and Iran seek to disrupt the international order and impose their will, American policymakers should be asking themselves: is America ready to take on this new Axis? I would argue, under the current administration, we do not.
Now it is important to realize that there is a distinct difference between having the capacity to counter a challenge directly and the need to create such a capacity. Fortunately for the United States, being the world’s superpower means that America could contend with the likes of Russia, China, and Iran. But the present administration has left America vulnerable to an unexpected strike.
Shifting the Balance
Previous decisions by the Biden administration, such as lifting sanctions on Iran and stopping the Keystone pipeline, have caused a lack of global confidence in Biden’s leadership. While America has become a laughingstock on the world stage, these three countries have taken advantage of the present situation to undermine American primacy on the world stage. American allies are more hesitant to come to our aid and we are not prepared for the inevitable.
If America is to face this challenge head-on, then American policymakers will need to develop a strategy that optimizes all our economic, diplomatic, and military capabilities. The first place to start is by leveraging America’s economic capacity by increasing its energy production. In an April report by the Heritage Foundation, one area of weakness Iran and Russia share is their reliance on high gas and oil prices. Manufacturing and selling oil is where they raise the capital needed to improve their military capacities, especially their missile and nuclear program.
A Path Forward
If America re-opens its vast energy sources, not only would it help the U.S. economically but it would bleed Russia and Iran financially by depriving them of the necessary funds to maintain their forces. This requires optimizing America’s diplomatic capacity by strengthening and developing our partnerships with both old and new allies. America has the chance to use economic and defensive partnerships with nations in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to foster mutual cooperation to counter this new Russia-China-Iran axis. Finally, American policymakers must optimize U.S. defense resources through increasing research and development. This would ensure American primacy in all branches.
As China has made military modernization an essential part of becoming a dominant power, policymakers need to ensure that our military is receiving the funding needed to continue to foster new military technologies and maintain American primacy aboard. While some may feel that the forces of tyranny have the upper hand, one should not rationalize it as a reason for surrender. There is still a chance to right the ship before it’s too late. By focusing on competing with our adversaries and strengthening our diplomatic presence America can turn this dark hour into its finest.
About the Author
Hunter Oswald is a senior student studying political science and minoring in economics as well as national security. Hunter is a staff writer for Cogitare Magazine and contributor for the Grove City College Collegian newspaper and was a member of the Grove City Debate Team. He is interested in the fields of international affairs, national security, and economics.
This past summer, Hunter Oswald interned at the American Spectator. Previously, he completed the Heritage Foundation’s Academy Program, where he studied numerous public policy issues and America’s foundational principles. He aspires to further use his research and analytical skills in helping to inform the public on policy issues that promote and advance America’s principles.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the writer alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grove City College, the Institute for Faith and Freedom, or their affiliates.