"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Friday, February 17, 2006

In the Mideast, the Third Way Is a Myth

In the Mideast, the Third Way Is a Myth: "The reality shown by Hamas's victory in the Palestinian elections is this: If fully free elections were held today in the rest of the Arab world, Islamist parties would win in most states. Even with intensive international efforts to support 'civil society' and nongovernmental organizations, elections in five years would probably yield the same results. The notion, popular in Washington over the past few years, that American programs and efforts can help build a third alternative to both current governments and Islamists is simply a delusion."

It is a delusion that fully free elections would be held today in the Arab world. Yet this is how the editorial opens and speaks to the difficulty many have with this undeniably optimistic hope for this part of the world. It hasn't happened over night and won't happen over night so all the naysayers are always correct; yet if it does indeed work out as hoped for by the Administration, the medias lack of coverage will guarantee that we never really know.

"This we have ascribed to bad governments always forcing the choice between themselves on the one hand and the Islamists on the other." Which according to the authors outlook can never change.

The author notes that the U.S. does not appear as a multiparty government to most people around the world, but this is because one of those parties has opted out of reality and does not offer anything but conspiracy and lies.

"It isn't that democracy is not possible in the Arab world. In fact, the remarkable thing about the Palestinian elections was that they were free and highly contested under difficult circumstances. But in this historic moment Islamists remain the most well-organized alternative to governments, a situation that is unlikely to change soon." What the author says himself fits in with my opening statement regarding over night democracy when he says "in this historic moment," and the alternative governments. It isn't going to happen today, but an election has taken place in Palestine. Three have taken place in Iraq, which is no guarantee of a level headed Iraq, but much closer than any naysayers would like to admit; or it appears would like to see. Any time they refer to the presidential "bubble," it is as viewed from their own "bubble," which appears to be of a very non translucent material, and is not, free from disguise or falseness.

When the author refers to the "limited choices," for U.S. foreign policy that "has yet to be fully considered," i.e. engagement, patience and the "willingness to allow," new governments time to "put their goals to the test of reality;" he believes the present course is unrealistic. Yet offers this dream, that "Hamas, in fact, could provide a place for testing whether careful engagement leads to moderation." Is this not part and parcel of what is going on and regardless of limited results right now, is where U.S. foreign policy is being driven? I do not hold out much hope that Hamas will somehow change their stripes, but lets see where the next Palestinian election leads (if Hamas allows this).

Somehow the author feels that "most Arab governments see the American advocacy of democracy as primarily aimed at pressuring them to cooperate on strategic issues (such as Iraq, the war on terrorism and the Palestinian-Israeli issue) and at diverting attention from the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." Which is this individuals delusion, as ultimately the policy is a threat to their grip on power AND one should be uncomfortable making the claim absolute that there are no WMDs in Iraq.

All in all, there is nothing easy, quick or definate that will happen in this part of the world, however, it is a departure from the status quo that helped us end up where we are. If nothing else, they have our word that our actions are no longer just words.


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