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Axis of Evil Revisited

When President Bush first identified Iraq, Iran and North Korea as examples of an “axis of evil,” the list seemed, in some respects, an odd assortment. Iran and Iraq have been bitter enemies, and North Korea seemed (to me, anyway) to have little to do with either of the Islamic members of the “axis.”

It has been reported, though, that North Korea and Iran have collaborated on the development of illicit weapons. And today we have this, from Der Spiegel:

[A] leading German newsweekly reported that Iran has offered North Korea oil and natural gas as payment for help in developing nuclear missiles.

A senior Iranian official traveled to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, during the second week of October to make the offer, Der Spiegel magazine reported yesterday, citing unidentified Western intelligence sources.

It was not clear what North Korea’s response was, the magazine said.

I did a quick search to see how much has been reported about North Korean/Iranian cooperation on weapons, and found this, from the Council on Foreign Relations:

Does North Korea cooperate with Iran?

Yes. North Korea has sold Iran ballistic-missile technology that could be used to deliver Iran’s weapons of mass destruction. But the two are strange bedfellows; the atheistic, communist ideology of North Korea is incompatible with Iran’s Islamist fundamentalism.

It is remarkable how difficult a time liberals have getting over the a priori conviction that Islamic fundamentalists can’t possibly cooperate with secularists in pursuit of their aims.

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