Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ha.. Ha.. - Hamas

Does the election of Hamas make a difference to peace prospects in Israel? My answer - No. What is happening in Syria and Iran is a lot more relevant as they still control the "spoiler" influence on Palestine. Israel and Palestine could be led by the dalai llama and it wouldn't make a difference. However, Palestine and Israel are part of this democratic pincer movement I have been theorising, that is isolating and surrounding Iran and Syria.

The battles to entrench democracy in the middle east is real "war" all the rest is bluff, bluster, isolated sacrifices, posturing, marginal threats and zealous journalism.

6 comments:

Dr. Clam said...

In the same way, Hamas-Palestine is one more recruit to the Islamic axis dominated by Shi'ite Iran which I have been arguing as a more likely outcome! ;)

Marco said...

Your model doesn't take into account the mobility and choices of individuals within these countries. Look to the results of various past examples of democracy next to non-democracy. The democracies eventually attract migration, investment, legitimacy and private profit at the expense of the non-democracies.

Dr. Clam said...

Or, the democracies succumb to demagoguery, sclerotic decision making, and destabilisation by the non-democracies! History is replete with examples of both your paradigm and the one above, and you can't say that there is any inexorable physical law ensuring one outcome over the other.
Besides, I think the Iran-dominated Shi'ite hegemon will be a 'democracy', just not a kind of democracy secular humanists will like... My model suggests individuals will chose overtly Islamic governments, when the dead hand of secular dictatorship is lifted.

Marco said...

Or, the democracies succumb to demagoguery, sclerotic decision making, and destabilisation by the non-democracies! History is replete with examples of both your paradigm and the one above, and you can't say that there is any inexorable physical law ensuring one outcome over the other.

I've been influenced by the suggestion that the rise of a middle-class in a country makes democracy all but inevitable. I will accede the unlikely possibility that the rise of a middle class may yet be quashed.

Besides, I think the Iran-dominated Shi'ite hegemon will be a 'democracy', just not a kind of democracy secular humanists will like... My model suggests individuals will chose overtly Islamic governments, when the dead hand of secular dictatorship is lifted.

There are possible outcomes where we both could reasonably claim we were right. I agree that new democracies always start by choosing extreme ideologues. It is only in the long run that they end up reverting to moderates, when the reality of governing becomes apparent (if they had managed to stay democratic). I also agree that Iran or Syrian interests are controlling Hamas. I just think the fact that Hamas being in government will make it harder (for Iran/Syria) to exert control due to the more rigorous checks and balances within a democratic government. Hamas will quickly become what Fatah was.

Dr. Clam said...

I will take a stab in the dark and suggest a model:

In times of economic prosperity, the middle-class is expanding, and democracy is highly favoured, by your suggestion.

In times of economic hardship, when the middle-class is shrinking, it will try to hold on to its privileges however it can, without giving a fig for democracy. Thus you get dramatic democracy deficits, as in the 1920s-1930s.

So the remorseless march of democracy should continue unless the U.S. debt crisis implodes, causing Americans to stop buying consumer goods from China, causing China to stop buying raw materials from everyone else, causing the world economy to go belly up...

Marco said...

I can agree with that model. Where would the average mobile Muslim like to live amongst the countries of the middle east? Perhaps in an emerging democracy with a high rate of foreign investment. Is Iran closing off its borders to such an outflow yet (Soviet block style) ? Is Afghanistan and Iraq offering a more meritocratic alternative to the middle classes? These are the kinds of things that would demonstrate whether democracy was making headway, or losing the battle of hearts and minds.