Hamas Victory Represents The Latest Failure For The MidEast Democracy Doctrine Of Bush
George Bush hoped to leave a legacy of a MidEast reshaped by democracy. Had it worked, it would have been a great legacy. But realism is that if given a choice, MidEast voters would time after time choose radical or religiously extreme leadership.
The religious and politically extreme Hamas likely appealed to many of the less educated Palestinian voters. While Fatah was an old guard party riddled with corruption that even massive U.S. funding could not salvage, Hamas had enough appeal to win a slender victory and to form a new government in the Palestinian state. The U.S. did all they could to pump up the Palestinian Authority and improve the situation for Fatah. $500 million in aid was pumped in by the U.S. to improve the Palestinian state, and $70 million was given directly to the Palestinian Authority government. A recent $2 in recent aid was rushed to the Palestinian Authority to bolster their hopes by the U.S.
But with high poverty and unemployment, Hamas which offers social services and education for the poor masses of Palestinians, and seemed like a populist driven Islamic religious radical organization tailor made to appeal to Palestinian frustrations. Large scale parades of masked and armed Hamas fighters armed with RPGs and other weapons well illustrates the danger for this organization heading the Palestinian government. Unless Hamas becomes coopted into a genuine change of heart towards real democracy and suddenly turns 180 from extremism, then the likely result of the Hamas victory is armed conflict with Israel. The MidEast has now become far a more dangerous place with this Hamas victory.
But in other MidEast states, the "march to democracy" has hardly fared any better. In Iraq, where Bush intended to make the first move towards a domino effect of democratic elections, a Shiite religious coalition easily defeated the moderate Western style moderates associated with Ayad Allawi. With strong ties to Iran, this Shiite religious coalition likely sets up a situation of continued conflict with the Sunni minority continuing more than 80 years of ethnic strife between the Shiite and Sunni communities. It makes civil war more likely.
In Iran, democracy only meant that the citizens of this nation would freely choose an extremist who threatens Israel with destruction, denies that the holocaust even existed, and now threatens world peace with a drive towards uranium enrichment and possiby building nuclear weapons.
In states such as Pakistan, free elections would likely only result in the rule of someone like an Osama Bin Laden or a Taliban type government. In Jordan and Egypt, free elections there could also result in governments prone to religious or political extremism, replacing friendly "old guard" governments that self perpetuate their own rule.
There was no good attempt by the Bush Administration to attempt to use the best talents of MidEast experts, or to understand the MidEast sentiments, only some misguided romantic desire to attempt to bring democracy to a region in which religious extremism is strong, and poverty and hatred of Israel and also U.S. run very deep. Without this Bush Administration understanding of the this voter climate in these states, MidEast religious radicals are using the ballot box to further their revolutionary goals. Instead of bloody street battles to bring down governments, radicals find that disenchanted masses of MidEast voters will freely vote them into power without the need for a bloody civil war. The ballot box is now the prefered route to MidEast Islamic revolution. This is yet another Bush Administration foreign policy failure, and leaves MidEast peace in a further state of injury.
Serious warfare in the MidEast is now far more likely, as terrorists such as Hamas now control an entire state, and are not just some shadowy group of murdering terrorists. This entire situation points out the total failure of any Bush "war on terrorism". Terrorists are using the ballot box to establish entire terrorist states now, a huge step from being the small time criminal organizations that the Bush Administration would like to claim that they are, totally ignorant of the strong populist support for these extremist organizations in the MidEast states. Support for Osama Bin Laden runs at 40-70% in most Muslim states, where young people are just as proud to wear Osama Bin Laden t-shirts there as some would a Britney Spears t-shirt here. It takes no great MidEast scholarship to see that there is nothing but danger in the current climate of MidEast elections. Democracy for the MidEast has proven itself a very dangerous failure. What revolutionaries could not achieve through the violent revolution in MidEast states, the Bush Administration has helped them to achieve through the ballot box. Citizens of both Israel and the U.S. are now far less safe because of this major failure of this MidEast democracy policy. Terrorism and violence are far more likely.