31 January 2006

Hamas wins

I don't get it. Why is everyone so surprised by Hamas's winning a majority in the Palestinian elections? When I was in that part of the Middle East (admittedly, it was back in 1990), the Palestinians I talked to, in both Jordan and Israel, viewed Hamas very favorably, preferring to focus on the social services that Hamas provided rather than the terrorism in which it engaged. Besides, the religious motivation of Hamas members seems to lead to less corruption than that exhibited by Fatah. I would have been surprised if Hamas didn't win, or at least do very well.

But the US State Department didn't ask me, and so now we're seeing the spectacle of an administration which claims to want to spread democracy, trying to strangle the winners of an election that went the "wrong" way. The whole point of democracy is to create a process by which a majority of the governed can choose the government it wants. It is decidedly not to select a government that is acceptable to the Bush administration. And as long as an elected government respects human rights, acts as a responsible member of the international community, and holds regular, free, and fair elections, the US should be willing to work with it.

It almost enough to make you think that Bush & Co don't really believe in democracy.

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