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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hamas: Will The World Play Ball With Them? Will They Play Ball With The World?

Hamas was overwhelmingly elected to office in, what was by all accounts and all observations, a fair and free election. Hamas has repeatedly said they will not and do not recognize Israel's right to exist. What diplomatic options does the world have in working with a government with this mentality? Who will "give-in" and who will maintain their standards?

There are those, such as Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who believe that Hamas will mellow with their newly achieved power. There are those, such as President Bush, who hope that Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, a man who opposes violence against Israel, will have some degree of influence with Hamas in bringing them to a more rational stand toward Israel. There are those, such as Avi Dichter, former head of Israel's Shin Bet domestic security who believe Hamas will continue its period of calm and non-aggression, though Hamas is unlikely to formally say just that.

Can the world politically afford to shut out the Hamas government with the hope that either something better will come along, or wait for Hamas to mellow? It's anyone's guess at how long it could take for Hamas to mellow. This is not a realistic approach to deal with this new government.

U.S. Senator Joe Biden said, "The State Department and the president are in a tough spot here. I think the administration has had really a pretty naive view about how rapidly and how neatly democracy will be embraced", in the Middle East. "They've constantly underestimated the pull and tug of Islam," says Biden. Senator Biden is, unfortunately, unable to put aside his partisanship in this matter. The Hamas victory poses the very same issues to a White House or State Department no matter which political party is the majority. Further, from Biden's statement, it certainly sounds as if he is leaning towards appeasing and catering to Hamas. Appeasement is something we've learned doesn't work as evidenced by the eight year appeasement of North Korea by the Clinton Administration from 1992-2000 ('93-'01 if you want to be technical). We now witness the fallout that the United States and the neighbors of North Korea must deal with because of the Clinton Administration's policies of appeasement.

Ostracizing Hamas with economic or other sanctions will prove futile, just as sanctions with Iraq failed. One will always find a France or a Germany or a Russia willing to covertly provide whatever it is that the rest of the world doesn't think Hamas should have.

We know the United Nations cannot be counted on to apply force or strength to Hamas, or any other government or leader who refuses to play by standards the rest of the world observes. The U.N. is a eunuch, unable to enforce the resolutions it anxiously writes down. Their resolutions are as weightless as the paper on which they are written.

Then there is the outrageously absurd recommendation of Iranian President Ahmadinejad that Israel pull up its stakes and move their country to a completely different geographic region. Not only is his suggestion sickly laughable, but does anyone think that removing Israel from the area will result in total peace among the Muslim world; that by simply relocating Israel will result in no further inner conflicts among the Muslims themselves? The Muslim world is almost, but not quite, as volatile in dealing within their own peoples as they are in dealing with Israel.

The option of war, completely obliterating the Muslim extremists, is not only impossible from any logical standpoint, its monetary and human cost is something the world cannot afford, nor something any rational or reasoned politician could realistically expect let alone accomplish.

So where does that leave the world? Can the free world expect that Hamas will "mellow" and come to the table and negotiate objectively and fairly? Can the free world expect the Hamas government approach even the slightest degree of neutrality in living with their neighbors in the Middle East? Is what we now see happening related to the appeasement of the PLO and its former leader Yasser Arafat during the Clinton Administration?

I've written in previous posts that it will take decades to undo the harm caused by the eight years of the Clinton Administration. Do not think for one moment that what is now happening in the Middle East isn't tied to the policy failures of those eight years. Do not think for one moment that Hillary Clinton's kiss to Suha Arafat did not only pacify issues that should have been dealt with at that time, but also gave the Muslim extremists time and fuel for their build up of what the world now faces with a Hamas-led government.

We have another veritable mess created, and left for others to clean up, directly due to the political failures of our 42nd president.

News and Information Sources For The Above:
"Hamas' Win Exposes Risks of Bush's Mideast Policy"- Analysis by Warren P. Strobel, Washington Bureau via St. Paul Pioneer Press/Knight Ridder, January 27, 2006.
"Hama's Win Shakes Up Mideast, World" - by Dion Nissenbaum, Knight Ridder Foreign News Service; ibid.
"Chaos Marks Hamas Start" - by Steven Erlanger, The New York Times; ibid, January 28, 2006.
"Fatah's Rage Evokes Fears of Violence"- by Laura King, The Los Angeles Times via The Minneapolis Star Tribune/The McClatchy Company, January 28, 2006

Non-News Statements Are The Opinion of the Author
Linking to this Post :
Flopping Acres: "Hamas Will Form Terrorist Nation";
The Right Place: "'Round The 'Sphere"

What do you think Israel is going to do?
That's The Question of the Day/Week/Year/Decade.

Wow, I don't know. They are in an untenable position. If Israel is attacked, they - IMHO - have every right to defend themselves and remove their attacker from the face of the earth.

What do you think?
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