30 January 2006

Our leaders caught off guard

From the New York Times:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged Sunday that the United States had failed to understand the depth of hostility among Palestinians toward their longtime leaders. The hostility led to an election victory by the militant group Hamas that has reduced to tatters crucial assumptions underlying American policies and hopes in the Middle East.

"I've asked why nobody saw it coming," Ms. Rice said, speaking of her own staff. "It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse."

Jiminy Christmas, I saw it coming a mile away. Everyone I have spoken to at work and in the community, if they knew what Hamas was at all, saw it coming. This is a really bad sign, if State is this out of the loop. And not just Foggy Bottom -- if the president knew better, he wouldn't have agreed to it and lent his authority to it.

Indeed, Hamas's victory has set off a debate whether the administration was so wedded to its belief in democracy that it could not see the dangers of holding elections in regions where Islamist groups were strong and democratic institutions weak.
Indeed, that is what it is starting to look like. They got kind of lucky in Iraq and Afghanistan, if you can call that luck. But Palestinian "society" is not as healthy as Iraq and Afghanistan, and they failed to take that into account, probably because Israel was trying to tell them and they didn't want to hear it from the Jews.