I came across this news item posted on the International Herald Tribune’s website.
So, I guess this means that the Palestinian government now has a little bit of money with which to function. Though it is supposedly far less than the amount they need to pay the salaries and debts that they own. You might remember that most major donors chose to halt all aid to the Palestinian government as soon as the democratically elected Hamas came to power. This, of course, was disastrous.
The whole discussion is interesting, but it is one statement in particular that I wish to comment upon (I have not heard it being said often);
ROBERT SATLOFF: No, I think this is a moment for clarity. A large plurality of the Palestinian people elected a terrorist organization as its leadership. This is a moment where the world needs to respond to that very clear statement. I respect their vote. They should respect the world’s response to this vote.
Mr. Satloff is faultless when making this comment. The Palestinians should respect the world’s response to this vote. If not respect, then at least accept. It is in my belief that they have actually done that. Barring any proclamations they might have made upon winning, most news items either carry opinions on the issue as a whole or interviews with members of the Hamas government.
Furthermore, I am proud that an Arab country (as ironic as it may seem, the only “un-recognized” Arab country) had a free and fair elections (to a large extent, anyways).
Now then, to get to the “respect the world’s response to this vote” part. Lots of Arab media and thinkers would tell you: An Arab state finally has a democratically elected government and the West is still bitching about it. Nothing satisfies them. What do they want? To choose who comes to power personally? To put their men as Prime Ministers or Presidents if they don’t like the ones there?
Of course, they were quite fiery when making these remarks.
The answer is, of course, Yes! Who wouldn’t you fools? What government would not want to choose who has the power in places which might affect its people and its well-being, politically and economically, as a state. It’s called realism.
Maybe Political Science, as a major, wasn’t so stupid after all. You see, as my professor in POLS 320: International Relations informed us, there are two major schools of thought when it comes to international relations between states; the realists and the liberals. Of course, now we have the neo-realists and the neo-liberals. Now, to the realists, power is everything. You have the power, you use the power. You can get what you want with your power… go on ahead and do it. That’s the way of life. The state is the largest entity when it comes to International Relations and one’s level of analysis should not extended beyond that.
On the other hand, the liberals are believers in international institutions and organizations. They believe in collective decisions and that the state is not the largest entity when it comes to IR; the UN, WTO, WB, IMF and all those organizations are. These people do not believe in war, but they do acknowledge that it occurs. Even though I once adamantly followed this school, it reflects a highly idealistic and non-practical way of viewing things.
The U.S. (Current World Hegemon), as a government, follow the neo-realism school of thought. Meaning that everyone has to live with this. So live with it. I’m not saying don’t bitch about it, O Arab countries. You should. You never know when a European (minus the UK) might be listening. For some weird reason, the Europeans are more sympathetic to this than the Americans are. It might be the two World Wars, all the deaths they suffered or that they want people to like them so that they can be the next International Hegemon, when it’s time for the U.S. to step down.
It matters not. When they listen to you, they do things just to spite the U.S., just convince them that you’re important to them or their people in some way (the subscribe to the neo-realist club too, you know) and then you’re set… for a period of time at least.
What you should be doing, O foolish Arabs, is working like hell to gain power. I almost hope there’s some Top Secret Plan for doing this and that everything that’s happening now is a mere facade, until one day, 25 years from now, an Arab Leader or person will suddenly go on television and go: TA-DAAAA! We’re rich!! We’re Powerful!! Or some other weird thing.
And that’s the way I see (or is it dream?) it.