We Told You So, Axis of Evil Edition

by evanmcmurry

Barkeep, two fingers of JW Blue, and put it on Bush’s tab:

George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” line may have destroyed nascent cooperation between the U.S. and Iran. Filkins writes that the two sides were cooperating after the initial stages of the Iraq war, but, “The good will didn’t last. In January, 2002, [Ambassador Ryan] Crocker, who was by then the deputy chief of the American Embassy in Kabul, was awakened one night by aides, who told him that President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union Address, had named Iran as part of an ‘Axis of Evil.’ Like many senior diplomats, Crocker was caught off guard. He saw the negotiator the next day at the U.N. compound in Kabul, and he was furious. ‘You completely damaged me,’ Crocker recalled him saying. ‘Suleimani is in a tearing rage. He feels compromised.”

The negotiator told Crocker that, at great political risk, Suleimani had been contemplating a complete reëvaluation of the United States, saying, “Maybe it’s time to rethink our relationship with the Americans.’ The Axis of Evil speech brought the meetings to an end. Reformers inside the government, who had advocated a rapprochement with the United States, were put on the defensive. Recalling that time, Crocker shook his head. ‘We were just that close,” he said. “One word in one speech changed history.”

 

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