Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hamas victory a message for Bush

Anna Gearan, AP Diplomatic Writer - After making democracy a defining marker for American foreign policy, President Bush got a jolting message from Palestinian voters: Be careful what you wish for.

The United States promoted the democratic Palestinian election that now has produced an upset victory for the militant Islamic group Hamas. The election could install an organization the United States considers terrorist in place of a Palestinian leadership that, while weak, was pledged to work with Israel and with Washington.

The administration is caught between Bush's clarion rhetoric about spreading liberty even in unlikely places and the reality that self-determination can yield results that appear counter to U.S. interests. That's a challenge the United States may have to confront someday in other places as well, including Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Central Asia, the Balkans and — closer to home — South America.

...Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also pointed to elections in Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt as evidence that "the neighborhood is changing." Rice is careful to add that democracy in the Muslim world will not, and perhaps should not, look like democracy in America.