Thursday, January 26, 2006

Democracy is like a box of chocolates...

With the recent victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections and the strict Islamist Shia election victory in Iraq, I wonder if the Bush administration has decided to re-think its "Democracy is on the march" mantra for the Middle East.

Democracy is a wonderful thing...that is, as long as you get the results you were hoping for. The funny thing about democracy is that it allows the will of the people to prevail, regardless of what result the United States government might prefer. In many respects, the Bush administration will get exactly what it deserves in the Middle East. And the more they try to fight it, the more militant will be the support for whichever regime opposes the U.S.

Maybe one day the Bush administration will understand this concept.

And speaking of Middle East elections...

Regarding Iran, some say that an attack by the United States in order to curb Iran's apparent nuclear intentions could actually backfire by galvanizing internal support for its controversial president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And if people don't understand why that might happen, just think back to September of 2001 when a relatively new U.S. President who was out of favor with the majority of Americans suddenly found his support above 90%. And all it took was a one-day assault by nineteen men upon four commercial aircraft and three buildings to turn a virtual lame-duck president into the trusted and fearless leader of a nation of 300 million under attack. Do we really want to help Ahmadinejad by throwing the support of 70 million Iranians behind his twisted view of the world?

Right now, the best lesson for the Bush administration may be one made famous by Forrest Gump: Democracy is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

Unfortunately for the United States and Israel, the "box of chocolates" in the Middle East isn't tasting quite so sweet these days.


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