George W. Bush was applauded by conservatives and mocked by liberals for his pronouncement of an Axis of Evil. Consisting of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, the Axis of Evil was a construct designed to sell the war in Iraq to a skeptical America. Speechwriter David Frum knew that Americans needed to see a larger than life threat, similar to the one framed by FDR prior to WWII, in order to commit to a new war in the sands of ancient Babylon. He knew, in other words, that we Americans are still imprisoned by the same mindset that came of age through successes in WWII and Korea, and came to maturity in the decades long struggle of the Cold War.
As our nation has matured, we have settled very near the mindset that lost the British their American colonies. As Americans, we are the children of insurgents. We are nothing less than the first successful guerrilla warriors to throw off their colonial masters. We were terrorists in 1776, cutting down Redcoats from cover with our Kentucky Rifles, fighting traditional formations with non-traditional tactics. The erstwhile revolutionaries that are our ancestors earned their freedom (with the help of the French) by outlasting, frustrating, and annoying the British until they finally returned home. But we have reached a point in our national life-cycle where we are the traditionalists. We understand set-piece warfare that results in unconditional surrender. We ignore the realities of unconventional warfare. We forget that other nations, and their citizens, are disinclined to accept the “freedom” of outsiders.