Shafaq News/ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday invoked the controversial phrase "axis of evil" to describe growing global threats to the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies.
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, made the comments during interviews on both Fox News and CBS News. During the appearances, he discussed the threat posed to Western nations by Russia, China, and Iran, the latter of which has gained a renewed global focus amid its support for Hamas, the militant Palestinian Islamist group that launched a historically deadly attack against Israel on October 7.
Russia has been engaged in a prolonged and bloody conflict with Ukraine since invading the neighboring country in February 2022. President Joe Biden has frequently reaffirmed the support of the US for Ukraine and recently called on Congress to pass additional billions in military support for the embattled country, alongside support for Israel. China, meanwhile, has in recent years become increasingly antagonistic towards Taiwan, leading many observers to predict a conflict between the two entities in the near future.
"You have to respond to conditions that actually exist that are a threat to the United States," McConnell told Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream. "The Iranians are a threat to us as well. And so, this is an emergency. It's an emergency that we step up and deal with this axis of evil—China, Russia, Iran—because it's an immediate threat to the United States. In many ways, the world is more endangered today than it has been in my lifetime."
Later on CBS News' Face the Nation, the senator added: "There's an axis of evil in the world: China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and we need to stand up to the axis of evil, not try to do business with them."
The phrase "axis of evil" was most famously employed by former President George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City, referring at the time to North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. The speech has since become infamous as a pretext for the launch of the global "War on Terror" and the "forever wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter of which the US has only recently withdrawn from, and both of which have become increasingly viewed as costly and unnecessary over the years.
"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world," Bush said in his speech at the time. "By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic."
During his Fox News appearance, McConnell chastised the Biden administration over the disastrous withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. Supporters of the president have frequently countered such criticisms by noting that it was an agreement brokered by former President Donald Trump that led to the withdrawal in the first place. He did, however, praise the president for linking aid to Ukraine and Israel in his recent request to Congress, stating that he also views the conflicts as interlinked.