Several of my previous posts have warned of the risks associated with “be careful what you wish for….”, as related to the perils of democracy and free and open elections.
The recent election results in Palestine have served to confirm this admonition and to underscore the defective US foreign policy and incompetence of Condolezza Rice. Rice, thinking she had achieved a major breakthrough because of the sop given to the Palestinians in opening access to Gaza, completely misread the political climate in the Palestinian territories. So, the US got its wish of free and open elections and then was handed the worst imaginable result; just as happened in Iraq, Egypt, Pakistani western provinces, and Lebanon where Islamic movements have either prevailed or have registered significant victories.
Certainly Fatah corruption was a factor in driving 60% of Palestinians to vote for Hamas, but an equally influential issue was the inability of Fatah to stand up to Israel. Thanks to the US’s partiality to Israel, the latter has offered nothing but minimal concessions to the Palestinians; they have refused to abide by UN resolution calling for unconditional withdrawal from the occupied territories and refuse to negotiate the partition of Jerusalem. Little wonder the Palestinians had so little faith in Fatah.
The US now, unsurprisingly, are following their usual flawed policy by waving ‘the big stick’ threatening to withdraw financial aid unless Hamas bows to their wishes. The EU might not be so ready to do the same and this pressure could encourage the Arab donors, in particular Iran, to provide more support to Hamas. This would give Iran another opportunity to thumb their nose at the US and reinforce its ambition to be seen as the new force in the Middle East.
Not being satisfied to try to coerce the Palestinians to kowtow, the US is also putting the arm on India to support the US move to take Iran to the Security Council. If not, warns the US, the agreement for support of India’s nuclear program could be taken off the table. That is a risky ploy indeed. India is no pushover, and only recently has it seemingly overcome its visceral and long time antipathy to the United States. Such ‘hard ball’ tactics could set back all the recent progress in relations with a country rapidly developing into a major power.
It is difficult to understand how a country such as the United States, possessing so much material wealth, could be so bereft of intellectual capital.