A telling reaction to Hamas
Politicians around the world have had a somewhat confused reaction to the results, which is understandable as Hamas' stock and trade has to date been the delivery of suicide bombs on buses, not good governance. A well-run, internationally monitored election isn't supposed to end this way is it?
The American reaction is interesting, if only for its sense of utter confusion. The Bush Administration has, by lying its way into a war in Iraq, painted itself into a corner as the world's distributor of Democracy(TM). And now that "democracy" as a concept has to be held as the hallmark of all things noble and good, they are unable to legitimately criticize the result of any election, for good or ill. They may yet reap other rewards from this in future Iraqi elections. In the long run this may be a good thing, but you can tell by Bush's reaction in press conferences earlier this week that he'd rather be felling logs on the ranch back in Brokeback.
Set aside for a moment the result of the election. What did the Americans actually expect to happen? Since Bush launched his laughable "Roadmap to Peace", American involvement has been essentially to allow Israel to do whatever it wanted - expanding settlements in the West Bank, increasing the number of checkpoints that make a normal day to day life impossible, trapping Yassir Arafat in Ramalah (the leader of their government!) in house arrest, and finally constructing the Orwellian-named security "fence". And on top of all that, the US backs Mahmoud Abbas and is somehow surprised that the Palestinians voted against him?
This has not stopped the media of course from weighing in on various sides of the Hamas election. Jimmy Carter on Larry King Live called, sensibly, I think, for time to let the new government settle in, hoping that it will develop into a peaceful force that may lead to a step-down in hostilities, much like what has occured in recent years in Northern Ireland. It need not be said that in order for this to happen they are going to have to recognize Israel as a state at the very least, something that they have until now not done.
Meanwhile, on the more breathless side we have people like good old Captain Ed has laying things out nice and clear:
Tell it like it is Captain! Oh, that's not what you really meant, was it?
If people use democracy to elect hate-filled bigots and murderous terrorists into power, then they should suffer the consequences of that choice, not get a free pass from the world.