politics: well i must say, things in the middle east have taken a rather odd turn. what are we supposed to make of the palestinian/israeli situation now that hamas will be in the center of the political process? one of the things i find interesting about this situation, is how the press is not really sure what to make of it either. a few days ago, most stories seemed to run something like: the establishment verse the terrorists, with little real attention paid to why palestinians are actually voting for hamas. one exception was the christian science monitor, which ran this story a few days ago, Why Hamas is gaining in Palestinian polls. last night, i was particularly surprised to read THIS analysis on CNN - this was the most popular article on google news last night - it basically compares the israeli reaction to hamas winning, to that of the palestinians when sharon won - some sort of embrace of an unpredictable peace move... now today, the spin seems to be something like:
1. this is a protest vote against the corrupt PA
2. hamas will moderate itself now that its in the political mainstream.
3. hamas is terrible, and the peace process has nowhere to go.
the problem is the media is eternally optimistic, so they need to spin a path, however hypothetical, to peace, so 3. is not such a great take. 1. is a mere stating of the obvious. and 2. is well, editorial.
in any event, it kind of looks like the bush administration is in a bit of a jam. they need to spin how happy they are with the introduction of democracy in the middle east, but at the same time, its tough to spin hamas winning as a desired outcome. the CSM leads with, in my opinion, a no brainer article that should have been written the day the bush administration professed the desire to "let freedom ring" around the world. CSM writes:
Palestinian voters availed themselves of the time- honored democratic right to "throw the bums out" in their first legislative elections in a decade Wednesday - exactly the kind of action implicit in President Bush's push for democracy in the Middle East.
But by snubbing the Fatah Party of US-supported Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in favor of the radical Islamist group Hamas, Palestinians also put the Bush administration in a difficult spot.
The US might now seem hypocritical to many Arabs - encouraging democracy in the Middle East, while rejecting the choices that result from its exercise. At the same time, questions mount over whether Mr. Bush's campaign for democracy is encouraging the empowerment of Islamist militants across the region.
go HERE for the full text.
why is this a shock? one of the things that really bugs me about an exclusively-profit-driven-media is that there's so little analysis of positions occuring early on. i mean, its not like these are new issues, think of the franco-algerian war. why the heck can't the media use a little common sense and dare i say it, historical perspective, and analyze things a bit more. anyway, i should hardly pick on the CSM, they're one of the stars.
so back to the hamas thing, well, my take is that the bushies and israelies give this government a few days and a red line to decouple the militant wing of hamas from the service arm, else risk a complete cut off of funds. how that plays out, i have no idea.