Wasting little time since it triumphed in what may well be the last “election” held in Palestine for a long time, the terrorist-group-turned-political-party Hamas has opened channels to sympathetic states in the Western Hemisphere. Guess where? Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil. Expect Cuba, Mexico, and Chile to be next on the list. It doesn’t stretch the imagination to figure why: Hamas is seeking to establish its legitimacy.
The Hamas leadership can find guidance for this practical strategy from close-to-home historical precedent. Yassar Arafat used the same trick to convert his international image from terrorist to statesman. That the gullible West bought into the act made a point with Hamas. By going out of its way to seek full diplomatic recognition from America’s and Israel’s enemies Hamas is effectively using the gambit of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” a strategy that is as old in the Middle East as history itself.
Hamas will join other rogue states making the smart move to establish friendly relationships with deteriorating states within the Western Hemisphere inimical to American interests. The selection of Venezuela, of course, is a brilliant coup. Emerging dictator Hugo Chavez would afford diplomatic recognition to a dung pile if he thought it would tweak America and George Bush. It is an easy stretch for him to roll the red carpet out for Hamas, and serves his interests at the same time.
Chavez may or may not have scored high on his SATs but he is a demonstrated survivor whose raw cunning and clever manipulation have him sitting at the top of one of the strongest states in Latin America. Chavez is eager to promote his “Bolivarian” dream state that will swallow up neighboring Columbia, possibly Panama, Ecuador, and parts of Peru to form a Maoist-Leninist dictatorship stretching from Atlantic to Pacific while controlling the Panama Canal. We can already see his proclivity to employ surrogates to do his dirty work while he postures, preens, and threatens.
Both the Iranians and North Koreans have secretive missions already in place in Caracas. Hamas will soon join them. Chavez will soon be in a position that Fidel must envy but was never able to achieve, that of regional puppet-master with sufficient petrodollars to purchase weapons and the connections to willing dupes to implement his strategies. Already we see an order for 100,000 Soviet-era small arms tagged to be transferred to the FARC narco-terrorists in Colombia, for the purpose of bringing down the elected democratic government there. If Colombia falls, the way will be open for him to begin consolidation of the mega-state of his vision.
Other recent elections in Bolivia, especially, and in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, portend a hard left-turn among the largest countries of South America. It is no coincidence that Hamas will be calling on these capitals with diplomatic credentials, ready with its false face in place to enter the masquerade ball that is called international diplomacy.
By reinforcing Hamas across the board: with diplomatic recognition, offering a base in the New World, under-the-table funding for anti-Israeli and anti-American attacks, and conferring upon it a legitimacy that the terror organization would never achieve on its own, Chavez and other Latin leaders are effectively checkmating a policy of isolation and financial starvation that may be used by America and the EU to try to keep Hamas in check.
Some observers, such as Charles Krauthammer, have written that they advocate total isolation of Hamas from the world community, including a complete cessation of the billions in U.S., UN, and European aid money that is typically unaccountable and goes into personal secret bank accounts. Krauthammer asserts this money, even if made more transparent, is “fungible,” thereby permitting Hamas to divert other funds toward its core policy of eradicating Israel and Western influence from the region.
Krauthammer goes on to note that with its stated desire for a “one state” solution to the Middle East problem, eradicating Israel, “this election was truth in advertising.” Hamas is at least “more honest” than its predecessor. “Everyone is lamenting the fall of Fatah and the marginalization of its leader, Mahmoud Abbas. This is ridiculous. The election exposed what everyone knew and would not admit: Abbas has no constituency.”
As Victor Davis Hanson captures the issue, “encouraging democracy is still vital to offer a third choice other than dictatorship or theocracy — especially when we now recognize the general Middle East rule: The logical successor to a Shah is a Khomeini; a Zarqawi wishes to follow a fallen Saddam; a propped-up Arafat ensures Hamas; and a subsidized Mubarak will lead to the Muslim Brotherhood.” In
No country in which armed bands of violence-addicted young men roam the streets with automatic weapons and grenade launchers opening fire on foes and innocents alike can be characterized as enjoying a free election. The very idea of legitimizing it is a gross prostitution of the democratic process. It is exactly the same use of democracy to overthrow democracy that took place in 1930s Germany and italic, and more recently in Venezuela and Bolivia. When dictators fear the ballot box, they crack heads and jail opposition leaders.
To quote Hanson again, “Puritanical zealotry always feeds off autocratic corruption — as if lopping hands and heads is the proper antidote to military courts and firing squads.” So if Fatah was as corrupt as we know it was, how could we rationally have expected anything better than Hamas?
There will be those – and they pop up consistently when democracy seems to be faltering – that will decry the mission of trying to bring democratic process to those they deem incapable of dealing with it. Such fatuous abandonment of principle only hastens the rise of the dictator whether theocrat, autocrat, or communist.
As Amir Taheri notes, “the best way to kill the monster of Islamism is democracy,” and his dictum is equally applicable for other aberrations and political manipulation of the voting process. Hamas is now in power in a failed, dysfunctional, aggressive state and is making alliances with others in the international community who have serious mischief as a foundation for national policy. We need to be resolute, tough, and realistic in our approach to them, realizing that in the Middle East a bad moon has risen.
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