Friday, February 03, 2006

Prescriptive democracy

Of course, I couldn't finish the day without posting a brilliant article by Robert Fisk. This one's a few days old, but he totally nails the West's dilemma with democracy when the "wrong" guys (read: Islamists) are elected.

There's tons of stuff being written about Hamas getting elected, but I'm feeling a little hopeful. Fisk is, too. Check out what he has to say here, which really seems to make a lot of sense. His look at how Western governments progressively make peace and work with their former enemies (e.g., Japan, Vietnam, even the Dawa party politicians currently running Iraq's government) makes one wonder why the U.S. has such a double standard in the Middle East when it comes to democratically elected religious parties.

Here's an excerpt:

Not long after the Hamas leadership had been hurled into southern Lebanon, a leading member of its organization heard me say that I was en route to Israel.

"You'd better call Shimon Peres," he told me. "Here's his home number."

The phone number was correct -- proof members of the hierarchy of the most extremist Palestinian movements were talking to senior Israeli politicians.

The Israelis know well the Hamas leadership. And the Hamas leadership know well the Israelis. There is no point in journalists suggesting otherwise. Our enemies invariably turn out to be our greatest friends, and our friends turn out to be our enemies.

How terrible to speak with those who have killed our sons. How unspeakable to converse with those who have our brothers' blood on their hands. No doubt that is how Americans who believed in independence felt about the Englishmen who fired upon them.

I certainly hope the U.S. gives it up and just gets down to business before wasting more time by avoiding Palestine.


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