Matthews: The Latest ‘Axil of Evil’ is Massive, Loaded, and Hungry for Power!

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun5,2024

The world has changed since President George W. Bush, in his 2002 State of the Union address, first called Iran, Iraq and North Korea the “Axil of Evil.” Today, there’s a different, four-country Axis of Evil: Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. The old Axis was a problem, but it was small and weak. The new Axis is much bigger, much better armed, more dangerous and … power-hungry. 

Let’s start with “bigger.” Geographically, Russia is the largest country in the world, with 11 percent of world landmass. China is the third largest, with 6.3 percent. Toss in Iran’s 1.1 percent and miniscule North Korea’s 0.1 percent, and the new Axis possesses nearly one-fifth of the world’s land.  

Look at a map to see just how much of central and eastern Asia they possess. And they are contiguous or near each other, which facilitates their working and trading together. Plus, there’s the Axis’s stooge states in the Western Hemisphere: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. 

Extensive land holdings often come with significant natural resources. Venezuela has nearly 20 percent of the world’s proved oil reserves, Iran 13.3 percent and Russia 5.1 percent — giving those three countries nearly 40 percent of proved oil reserves. 

Of the top 10 countries with the most valuable natural resources, Russia is first, Iran is fifth, followed by sixth-place China and Venezuela is tenth.  

What about their economies? China has 17.5 percent of world GDP, second only to the United States. Russia has 1.8 percent and Iran only 0.3 percent. While the Axis’s economies are smaller than the U.S. and our allies, dictatorships have much more control over their economies and can drain resources without having to answer to the voters. In short, they can funnel a disproportionate amount of money into the military and political mischief with few or no domestic repercussions. 

And then there’s “better armed.” China has the largest army and navy in the world. Iran is producing drones it sells to Russia and distributes to its proxy militias. And North Korea has been selling munitions to Russia, giving the tiny, impoverished dictatorship more hard cash than it’s had for years. And it spends much of that money creating rockets and firing them close to Japan. Three of the four countries have nuclear weapons, and Iran may be close — if it doesn’t already have them. 

But perhaps the biggest difference in the 2024 Axis of Evil is that at least three of the four countries are in expansionist mode. They want much more land and power. And they are coordinating their efforts to benefit each country’s goals. It’s a very dangerous development. 

It’s also something of an unholy alliance. North Korea and China are officially atheistic and communist. Iran is a theocratic state operating under its view of Islamic law. And Russia used to be atheistic and communist under the USSR, but now Russian President Vladimir Putin claims to be a Christian, and his invasion of Ukraine is sanctioned by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The countries have no shared culture, ideology or vision. It’s an alliance of convenience to grab more land and power. 

Russia began its expansion with Ukraine, first by taking the Crimea in 2014 and invading the heartland in 2022. Russia already has a stooge running Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. Tiny Moldova fears it may be next on the repatriating block. And nearly all the formerly USSR countries are concerned that Russia has its greedy eye on them. 

China is also expanding, making claims to the South China Sea, building islands in the ocean and stocking them with military assets, demanding the repatriation of Taiwan, and challenging the Philippines.  

Iran may be more interested in theological than military expansion. It’s not trying to expand its territory so much as its religion: Islam. But it’s no less expansionist in that regard. 

And all these challenges are coming at the same time. 

The U.S. and other democracies must figure out how to contain Axis aggression and expansions. Building up military strength would help, and some of the NATO countries and Japan are trying to do just that. President Joe Biden not so much.  

The West also needs to keep up oil and natural gas production, which give our allies and other countries a reliable source of fossil fuels, so they don’t have to turn to Russia or Iran. Higher quantities also push down prices, making it harder for Russia and Iran to use oil sales to fund their belligerence. 

Most important, we need a president who can recognize the growing threat from the new Axis of Evil and be prepared to respond with a better strategy, better foreign relations and a bigger and better-prepared military. 

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on X@MerrillMatthews. 

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Matthews: The Latest ‘Axil of Evil’ is Massive, Loaded, and Hungry for Power!”
  1. As a journalist translator with experience in international relations, it’s concerning to see the emergence of this new ‘Axis of Evil’ comprising Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. The combination of their extensive landmass, abundant natural resources, and substantial economic power is indeed worrisome. It’s crucial for global stability to closely monitor and address the actions of these nations to prevent further destabilization.

  2. As a geopolitical analyst, I believe the emerging Axis of Evil composed of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea poses a significant threat due to their extensive landmass and abundant natural resources. The power-hungry nature of this alliance, coupled with their strong economies, could potentially reshape global dynamics. It is crucial for international diplomacy to address and counteract this growing influence.

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