Friday, December 08, 2006

Rice’s “Freedom Deficit” Rings Hollow

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s assertions that the myriad of problems in the Middle East arise from a 60 year freedom deficit would hold a bit of water had the U.S. not gone out of its way to snub elected leaders in the Palestinian Territories. The subsequent withholding of funds, combined with giving Israel a free pass to wreak havoc on the Gaza Strip, show the Bush administration’s freedom to ignore free elections because it didn’t like the result.

It also failed when recently freed and democratic Lebanon got steamrolled by its democratic neighbor to the south. The Jewish State admits it freely discriminates based on race/religion in housing and job opportunities. What happens when the fledgling elected governments of Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories are virtually ignored by Condi and Company?

The problem is not a freedom deficit, but an ability to deal with people and countries where they are now. The Bush team loves to set conditions for its enemies while ignoring transgressions by its friends. Generally it avoids listening to both as it does what it will in the region. That can’t be good in the long run…


Chris said...

Okay, Rice accepted the right of the Palestinians to elect Hamas. However Hamas not only refused to sit down and negotiate with the Israelis, but continue the on-again, off-again Kassam barrages of Sderot and other towns in Israel proper.

The Hamas prime minister, in Tehran, reiterated his government's vow to never negotiate with Israel. Why are we under some obligation to give money and recognition to a government that has, as its national aim, the destruction of its neighbor-Israel?

Rice is correct to mention the "freedom deficit". Too bad liberals don't care about this kind of thing anymore. They used to. Of course, that's when Democrats were in power. Then things changed, and so did the talking points.

Hypocrisy, they say, is the homage vice pays virtue.

PEU Report/State of the Division said...

Thank you for your comments Chris. When are democratic elections not democratic? When the wrong party wins or appears it will win.

The U.S. supported the cancellation of elections in Algeria in the 1980's in such a case. So true democracies become otherwise when they don't trust their citizen's ability to choose?

Algeria deteriorated into civil war as a result. How is that better for the people? First they're told their vote doesn't matter, then they suffer from the direct and indirect consequences of civil strife.

If the U.S. truly wants people to vote, we should work to live with the result. Withholding money and standing on the sidelines as Israel bombs electrical plants only hurts the people.

When the pain becomes great enough they act out. Witness the internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah this past summer. Is that the U.S. and Israel's plan, to divide the Palestinians?

It's a time honored strategy pitting the poor and oppressed against each other. Ask the British who used it expertly.