Thursday, January 26, 2006

Spreading Democracy

President Bush's main foreign policy goal has not been the defeat of Iraq or the capture of Osama bin Laden. It has been the spreading of democracy. So recent elections are something of a watershed moment for Mr. Bush. The continued support of of the people of Venezuela for President Hugo Chavez and the inauguration today of the indigenous Bolivian Evo Morales, a cocoa grower who ran on a post-colonialist, anti-American platform, as the president of Bolivia--both staunchly anti-Washington and pro-Castro--show that in parts of the third world Mr. Bush's foreign policies have made America so hated that being seen as standing up to America is a formula for electoral success. The implication of Mr. Bush's position is, of course, that the only legitimate government is one that has been democratically ellected. But how then to deal with democratically elected governments that are stridently anti-American. Obviously, we have to recognize them as legitimate governments. Iran can be dismissed because restrictions on liberal candidates by the religious council that runs Iran made that election non-democratic. But not Boliva and not Venzuela.

Which leads me to Palestine. Mr. Bush ahs insisted all along that his policy in the Middle East, particularly the invasion of Iraq, will boost the Mid-East peace process. He has gone so far as to suggest that, abesent the weapons of mass destruction that were the original justification for the war, that removing sadam to further the peace process was justification enough. Never mind that the new democratically elected government of Iraq is skewing Anti-America.

But in Palestine.

The landslide election of Hammas, a group labled by Washington, by the EU and by Isreal as a terrorist organization, a group whose governing principal is the destruction of Isreal, a group which has been responsible for hundreds of suicide bombings, to the control of the Pallestinian Authority, the defacto government of the palestinian people, is the biggest revelation yet about hte problems of Mr. Bush's agenda of nation building. Of course, this election had much more to do with Isreal then it did with the U.S., but to think that American support of Isreal and the American invasion of Iraq, one of Hammas' staunchest allies, had nothing to do with it would be naive. "Death to America" is shouted as loudly as "Death to Isreal" among Hamas' supporters--which now clearly includes large majority of Pallestinians.

So, to recap, a fundamentalist, violent, terrorist organization has overwhelmingly been democratically elected to govern Pallestine. The question I want asked, and which I have seen no news organization ask so far, is this:

How will the democratically elected fandamentalist Christian administration of G.W. Bush deal with the democratically elected fundamnetalist Islamist administration of Hammas?


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