With respect to American interests even narrowly and pragmatically construed, as reflecting actual reality, I can't, offhand, think of a stupider, more counterproductive speech or policy idea than the 'Axis of Evil'. As if Iran and North Korea were in any way at all remotely comparable, as if they could be reduced to evil in a simplistic Manichaean dichotomy, as if the issues arising from the Axis' conduct on the regional and world stages merited similar responses.
And the subtext, of course, was the Busherregnum's obscene equation of patriotism, the last refuge of the scoundrel (Johnson) or first (Bierce), with a dismissal of talking diplomacy in favor of militarism before a threatening world, cementing in place or worsening problems rather than solving them. But, I suggest, these problems served Republican interests domestically and abroad, and it was in their every interest, in fact, not to solve them but to perpetuate them. That they were easily reduced to sound bites by a compliant media, which, all too often, equated opposition to Bushist policies to weakness and appeasement, further served Republican political interests. So righties find the alleged Iranian and North Korean threats not only congenial with respect to foreign policy making, and their relationship with all those cosmopolitan internationalists in the State Department, but useful to exploit in domestic politics, manipulating the media and the electorate, casting Democrats as comparatively weak on national security issues.
Fear, hate and ignorance. Not, you might think, the only, or best, options on which to base a search for a better world. Those who disagree aren't, in fact, the slightest bit interested in a better world, but in one where their power is sustained and enlarged, and their opposition neutered.
But, then, you knew that...