HAMAS: The blogosphere is going off the hook right now with postings on Hamas’ stunning victory in the Palestinian elections. So far, it’s hard to tell what Hamas will do. It’s hard to read this victory for a militant organization like Hamas as the Palestinian people only voting for a hard-line voice in government. The more likely scenario is that Hamas is an alternative to Fatah, which hasn’t really delivered
as an effective governing party. This being said, it’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask: can Hamas go legit in order to keep the peace process going? It really feels like one step forward, two steps back in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with no end to the cycle in sight. Here’s two excellent reads on the subject: The Guardian and the Counterterrorism Blog.
DOMESTIC SECURITY: Slashdot posted a New York Times piece today that wisely talks about the limits Americans have about domestic spying during the Age of Terror. While many elements of the Bush Administration’s Anti-Terror Plans have been conducted with a certain degree of legitimacy (The Patriot Act, which is still the most terrifying invasion of government into private citizens’ lives I’ve ever read, still amazingly passed, although that was right after 9/11 – I suspect today, even most Republicans wouldn’t go for it), the domestic spying issue has to be considered part of the case Democrats must make against the President if they have any chance after the mid-term Congressional elections to hold him to account. Bush is getting a free ride right now and he knows it. Unlike during the Clinton era impeachment process, the President has no real opposition right now. It’s amazing: Clinton has an affair and he gets impeachment procedures railed against him, and Bush breaks the Constitution and no one in Congress talks even seriously about censure?
HARPER: I’m still skeptical of Harper, but good on him for showing the U.S. it’s not all fun and games now for the Bush Administration with a Conservative government in Canada.
Jeffery Simpson wisely pointed out one thing about our recent election, however: where was the focus in this election on international issues? Why didn’t any of the parties even attempt to outline a serious examination of our foreign policy framework? What about Canada’s role in Afghanistan? The U.N.? Peacekeeping as opposed to peacemaking?
Harper’s biggest tests as Prime Minister are going to emerge out of this theme of international relations. He’s going to be most harshly judged on whether or not he decides to join the missile defence shield with the U.S., our relationship with the U.S. as a whole and our role in reforming the U.N., which is proving more urgently needed as the months go on. Canadians – especially urban ones – are going
to judge him on these topics. Where were they in the campaign?