Was the Hamas victory a Bush failure?
That is a popular assertion these days: That the electoral victory of a terrorist organization is a failure of Bush specifically or the West's approach generally. The popular phrase is "Be careful what you wish for..."
But that Hamas, or any other group, was able to be freely and fairly elected is a democratic success and at least partially a natural spill-over of the wave of democracy spreading throughout the Middle East since the removal of the ruling dictatorial regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and the free elections that followed in each.
The failure that Hamas' election represents is not that of the wave brought on largely by the current Bush Administration policies, regardless of one's opinion of those policies, but rather the maturation of the failures that preceded them. So too is it noted today by Max Boot:
Hamas's victory in the Palestinian elections last week is widely seen as discrediting President Bush's desire to spread democracy. Actually, the electoral triumph of this pro-terrorist, anti-Western movement offers more evidence for the failure of the cynical approach that the United States pursued before Mr. Bush came into office - a pseudo-realistic policy of using supposedly benign dictators to repress Islamic extremists.
That, after all, was the rationale behind the Oslo process: Israel and the US would support Yasser Arafat in the hope that he would deliver peace and crack down on the crazies. Fat chance. Instead, his Fatah Party gave birth to the suicide bombers of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and he tolerated terrorists affiliated with competing groups as a cudgel to pressure Israel into greater concessions. Palestinian television and radio stations, newspapers, and schools never ceased to glorify suicide bombers ("shahids," or martyrs) and to revile Jews and Americans.
As is the case with Iran, there simply are no palatable choices on the table.