Many years ago (another lie, another war), one of President GW Bush’s speechwriters, David Frum, coined the term “axis of evil.” Wow! It looked bad.

Then the phrase was intended to be used for a supposed group of anti-democratic nations in general and the United States (the beacon of light and goodness) in particular. These nations included the absurd theocracy in Iran, the mysterious world of North Korea, and the Middle Eastern bully Iraq, the target of America now in its post-9-11 fury.

Although they were very different in culture, all of these countries were on America’s hit list to one degree or another. Another common feature? The leaders of these countries were not good people, they were all different on the topic of madness.

Saddam Hussein modeled his leadership methods on those of Joseph Stalin (using, for example, the slogan that if someone gives you a problem, kill him; problem solved).

Iran’s Ayatullahs have tried to return civil society to the corrupt values ​​of Shia Islam, which are enforced by secret police, and to spread Iranian influence through the export of terrorism and the development of nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s Kim has reportedly allowed widespread starvation in his country, choosing instead to develop nuclear weapons and their ICBM delivery systems (every time his military test launches another, new and improved version of one of these).

Such leaders share another characteristic that seems to be expanding in influence globally: big egos. Strong, authoritarian leaders (or lovers) especially have them. Some of these people are psychopaths, people without empathy or compassion.

Apply questions from the psychopath test to any such leader. Does the character get bored? Trump’s advisers had to condense his daily briefings to less than a page of bullet points because he couldn’t read them. Although the summary is intended to provide background and useful information to inform important decisions, he could not be bothered. He said he was tired. He eased the fatigue, though, by playing a lot of golf during the first year of the COVID pandemic.

Is he a pathological liar? Putin claimed that his troops were only conducting military exercises. Wow! I don’t think so. Invasion instead. Trump lied so much during his presidency, that observers concluded that he is “trying to create an environment where the truth is irrelevant.”

Does he lack remorse? Trump released a full-page ad advocating the execution of five young black men accused of murdering a white woman. They were later found not guilty. Trump never apologized. Nor did he seem bothered by his border officials locking the children of illegal immigrants in cages like animals.

Slobodan Milosevic, the leader of Serbia in the 1990s, was indicted by the World Court for overseeing genocide and “ethnic cleansing,” part of a total of 66 charges of crimes against humanity. He died in prison, denying any responsibility until the end.

Does he think of his own greatness? The born-again Dubya thought he might have been chosen by God to avenge 9-11. North Korea’s Kim dynasty sees itself as “demi-god,” and therefore cannot be wrong. The Ayatollah of Iran claims his right to rule from Allah. Assuming for a moment the existence of God, why would He choose such idiots to represent His will?

This “ego axis” is just crazy. No wonder we are in trouble.

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