Friday, January 27, 2006

Hamas victory -- best comment

The bus finally stopped.
And the chasing and barking dog finally caught his prey.
What can he do now?
The barking finally worked!

I listened last night to Michael Savage. (I also look at pictures of alligators and enjoy going to the zoo.) He had a phone conversation with an expert on the Middle East, a faculty member from NYU just returned from there having talked with all sides of the political situation. The expert was optimistic and upbeat, saying that the Hamas win had a solid upside: they have been voted into power not because they wanted to erase all the Jews in the world, but simply because their constituency was tired of violence and corruption (represented by Arafat's legacy, Fatah) and is ready for peace and prosperity. Anything that Hamas does now that fails to move in that direction will only be seen as a betrayal by those who put them into power. Their hands, in effect, are tied. Rhetoric may point one direction, but policies will be forced to move in another.

(Needless to say, the usually over-the-top, out of control Savage, once in his life, seems to have had the wind knocked out of his sails as he made a clumsy recovery. This was certainly not the sabre-rattling, hawkish catch for which he had been fishing. It was a dilicious moment to hear.)

Bill Petti at The Duck of Minerva has a definitive post with a rash of links that captures the whole event in a single place. If you read the post and follow all the links it will take a good deal of reading (especially if you drill into the next generation of links...see Aardvark, for example) but you will have a good sense of what has occurred.

The thing about democracy is you never know who may be swept in or out of power. And while I believe, to paraphrase Churchill, that democracy is the best form of government given the alternatives, it can lead to outcomes that are undesireable. It will be interesting to see whether democracy promotion can pass this major test.

My personal favorite comment so far about international response to the election is from Nur al-Cubicle in the Abu Aardvark comments thread. She stands to my left politically, but her extraordinary translations of European news sources is indispensable to keep a balanced view of world events.


Toom witha Vu said...

The crucial thing is wether a Hamas government will carry on democracy in the Palestinian territory or will they just be another Arab Fascist group.

I've been reading your blog for awhile. Its pretty good.

Hoots said...

You're right, of course. Everything depends on the intersection of a variety of expectations, leaders and followers alike, on all sides. That may be why the issue fascinates me (see my tagline about optimism). It has been my observation in life that we seem to find what we expect to find, and interpret what happens to them through the lens of expectations.