At a recent event featuring a rocking, rocketing screamo band (long haired, guyliner and Hot Topic'd to the nth), the sexy skinny guitarist's arsenal featured a prized 'vintage' piece of sonic weaponry called a "1969 Marshall TV 4 X 12 Cabinet".
"She looks beat up and wretched because she's been used so much. And she's been used so much because she sounds soooo good."
In a way, that could be applied to the term 'Axis.' The nom de guerre of Axis - as a descript for unfun, unfree (and sometimes nigh unhinged) regimes to buddy up and hook up to maintain and project their wicked despotic autocratic impirium delirium has been used quite a bit.
"To understand the nature of this challenge, consider that the distance between Baghdad and Tbilisi is barely 578 miles, less than the distance between New York City and Chicago.
Iraq and Georgia, both of which have democratic governments, are sandwiched between Iran and Russia, two of the most authoritarian governments in the world.
Russia has been collaborating with Iran to strengthen the latter's nuclear program and its military. It is also steadily arming Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez. "
"Iraq, Georgia and Colombia are battlegrounds in a new kind of international conflict that will define our geopolitical future. This conflict pits the U.S. and the West against an emerging axis of oil-rich dictatorships who are working together to push back against the liberalizing trends of globalization.
One of their prime objectives is toppling or undermining neighboring,
"The term "axis" has been overused in recent years, and in misleading
contexts. But Russia, Iran and Venezuela are acting very much as Japan, Italy and Germany did in the 1930s, when each took advantage of each other's aggressive moves to extend their own regional power at the expense of liberal democracy -- and, as a result, propelling the world to the brink of war.
The chessboard of traditional competitive geopolitics is back with a vengeance. Russia is the principal source for Iran's nuclear weapons program as well as the principal obstacle to international sanctions.
Between them, Mr. Putin and Tehran's mullahs clearly aim to control access to every major source of fossil energy from the western end of the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea.
The third player in this new axis, Venezuela's President Chávez, hopes for an oil and natural gas monopoly over the natural resources of neighbors like pro-Chávez satellites Bolivia and Ecuador."
If the ever popular - all American game of "Which one of these is not like the other" is played, the results are totally Axis.
"All three dictatorships are flush with cash thanks to rising oil prices; all three are bent on regional domination.
All three openly celebrate a model of government that is authoritarian and monolithic in opposition to Western pluralism, market-oriented economies and representative democracy.
All three run economies built on mafia-style crony capitalism.
All three denounce U.S. "imperialism," and evidently hope that the 2008 election will help to bolster their geopolitical plans.
And all three see themselves as natural allies. Since 2004, Mr. Chávez has steadily strengthened his strategic and economic ties to Tehran. Last year he joined with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to push OPEC to cut production and boost oil prices. In addition to his Allianz Estrategica with Mr. Putin, Mr. Chávez was the one international leader who publicly praised Russia's invasion of Georgia.
Finally, all three members of this axis see the emergence of pro-American, Western-oriented governments on their borders as mortal threats and are determined to hit back.
In Russia's case, this means direct military force against Georgia. Iran
has used its terrorist proxies to sow chaos in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Mr. Chávez wages a proxy war against Colombia through the terrorists of FARC.
Despite Russia's nuclear arsenal, none of these states poses a military threat comparable to the Cold War Soviet Union, or even the Axis powers in the 1930s. For all their bluff and bluster, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have a relatively tenuous position in the world; for all their oil wealth their economies remain weak and unstable.
The autocratic anti dote is again a canny RX of constant confrontation and selective intervention
"A broad strategy of targeted economic sanctions and multilateral diplomacy, backed by U.S. military power -- together with a determined effort to push down oil prices by expanding supply and strengthening the dollar -- can introduce a note of sober realism to the strategy of this new axis, and force them to realize how limited and vulnerable their source of money and power really is.
However, the most important strategy right now is to secure democracy's vital new flanks -- Iraq, Georgia and Colombia. By shoring up and strengthening, rather than abandoning all three governments, the U.S. will send a clear signal that liberty, not tyranny, is the wave of the globalizing future."