Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hamas wins--and now we get to see if they can make anything run on time

I need a rest, so I'm not planning to write today on the Hamas victory. But fortunately, there's no need at all for me to do so; the newspapers and the blogosphere have covered the territory.

If you're looking for places to go for information and discussion, here are a few suggestions for posts and roundups:

Atlas Shrugs

Vital Perspective (many posts)

Kesher Talk

All Things Beautiful

Below the Beltway

Captain's Quarters

Michelle Malkin

Pajamas Media

National Review

Belmont Club (including comments)

Patrick Belton of Oxblog is on the scene, and has some especially pertinent things to say:

It's not clear anyone wanted this, least of all Hamas, who in assuming the administration of the Palestinian national authority's creaking and often corrupt bureaucracy single-handed in a moment when its sole lifeline of European and other international support appears threatened, may just have stumbled into the biggest molasses patch the Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah has ever faced. Unlike the Lib Dems of 1985, Hamas did not go to its constituencies to prepare for government. It had prepared for a coalition, or possibly pristine opposition, but not this....

The mood here, so recently jubilant, suddenly is somber. In Ramallah we are promised a press conference at 7, with final results, and Hamas has said it will declare its intentions after. Does Hamas continue to moderate in its now desperate need to keep foreign aid flowing? It may still yet form a coalition, to provide internationally palatable, unbearded, faces for Europeans and Americans to talk to.

I was wondering what Europe's reaction will be. It's difficult for me to imagine that they will be able to continue to believe that Palestine is a partner for peace if Hamas is in charge. And yet, stranger mental gymnastics have occurred. Because Europe has so much invested (literally) in that notion, my guess is that European acknowledgement that the Palestinians have now taken the masks--and the gloves--off will be exceedingly difficult.

Several bloggers have pointed out a parallel with the rise of the Nazis in pre-WWII Germany, saying "Hitler was democratically elected." I beg to differ, at least slightly.

Yes, Hitler was selected by a Democratic process. But he did not come to power by winning the popular vote. He won neither a majority (difficult to do in a Parliamentary election, anyway), nor a plurality. In fact, he lost, and the Nazi Party's fortunes were sinking.

That story is told here. An excerpt:

Between 1931 and 1933, vicious power struggles would break out between rival political parties. The power brokers in these struggles were Hindenburg and Schleicher. The problem during this period was that no party even came close to achieving the majority required to elect its leader Chancellor. Coalitions were either impossible to build, or were so transient that they dissolved as quickly as they formed. Ambitious leaders from every party began maneuvering for power, striking deals, double-crossing each other, and trying to find the most advantageous alliances. Hitler himself would ally the Nazis to the Nationalist Party. "The chess game for power begins," Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary. "The chief thing is that we remain strong and make no compromises."

In 1932, hoping to establish a clear government by majority rule, Hindenburg held two presidential elections. Hitler, among others, ran against him. A vote for Hindenburg was a vote to continue the German Republic, while a vote for Hitler was a vote against it. The Nazi party made the most clever use of propaganda, as well as the most extensive use of violence. Bloody street battles erupted between Communists and Nazis thugs, and many political figures were murdered.

In the first election, held on March 13, 1932, Hitler received 30 percent of the vote, losing badly to Hindenburg's 49.6 percent. But because Hindenburg had just missed an absolute majority, a run-off election was scheduled a month later. On April 10, 1932, Hitler increased his share of the vote to 37 percent, but Hindenburg again won, this time with a decisive 53 percent. A clear majority of the voters had thus declared their preference for a democratic republic.

However, the balance of power in the Reichstag was still unstable, lacking a majority party or coalition to rule the government. All too frequently, Hindenburg had to evoke the dictatorial powers available to him under Article 48 of the constitution to break up the political stalemate. In an attempt to resolve this crisis, he called for more elections. On July 31, 1932, the Nazis won 230 out of 608 seats in the Reichstag, making them its largest party. Still, they did not command the majority needed to elect Hitler Chancellor.

In another election on November 6, 1932, the Nazis lost 34 seats in the Reichstag, reducing their total to 196. And for the first time it looked as if the Nazi threat would fade. This was for several reasons. First, the Nazis' violence and rhetoric had hardened opposition against Hitler, and it was becoming obvious that he would never achieve power democratically. Even worse, the Nazi party was running very low on money, and it could no longer afford to operate its expensive propaganda machine. Furthermore, the party was beginning to splinter and rebel under the stress of so many elections. Hitler discovered that Gregor Strasser, one of the Nazis' highest officials, had been disloyal, attempting to negotiate power for himself behind Hitler's back. The shock was so great that Hitler threatened to shoot himself.

But at the lowest ebb of the Nazis' fortunes, the backroom deal presented itself as the solution to all their problems. Deal-making, intrigues and double-crosses had been going on for years now. Schleicher, who had managed to make himself the last German Chancellor before Hitler, would eventually say: "I stayed in power only 57 days, and on each of those days I was betrayed 57 times." It's not worth tracking the ins and outs of all these schemes, but the one that got Hitler into power is worth noting.

Hitler's unexpected savior was Franz von Papen, one of the former Chancellors, a remarkably incompetent man who owed his political career to a personal friendship with Hindenburg. He had been thrown out of power by the much more capable Schleicher, who personally replaced him. To get even, Papen approached Hitler and offered to become "co-chancellors," if only Hitler would join him in a coalition to overthrow Schleicher. Hitler responded that only he could be the head of government, while Papen's supporters could be given important cabinet positions. The two reached a tentative agreement to pursue such an alliance, even though secretly they were planning to double-cross each other.

Meanwhile Schleicher was failing spectacularly in his attempts to form a coalition government, so Hindenburg forced his resignation. But by now, Hindenburg was exhausted by all the intrigue and crisis, and the prospect of civil war had moved the steely field marshal to tears. As much as he hated to do so, he seemed resigned to offering Hitler a high government position. Many people were urging him to do so: the industrialists who were financing Hitler, the military whose connections Hitler had cultivated, even Hindenburg's son, whom some historians believe the Nazis had blackmailed. The last straw came when an unfounded rumor swept through Berlin that Schleicher was about to attempt a military coup, arrest Hindenburg, and establish a military dictatorship. Alarmed, Hindenburg wasted no time offering Hitler the Chancellorship, thinking it was a last resort to save the Republic.

On January 30, 1933, Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor.


At 9:53 PM, January 26, 2006, Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report said...

Well, unfortunately, Fatah was never a "partner for peace" either.

Fatah or Hamas, it makes no difference. They both would love to see me dead.

Yet, still, I prefer Hamas, because at least with Hamas they openly cry out for my death.

With Fatah, they say "peace" in front of Western media, and then cry for my death to their own media.

What I am trying to say is, with Fatah, they hold the olive branch in one hand, and hide a gun behind their back with the other.

At least with Hamas, they openly reveal the guns in both of their hands.

I prefer an enemy who openly admits they hate me so that the whole world can see it.

At 10:51 PM, January 26, 2006, Blogger chuck said...


I don't live in Europe, so can only make educated guesses while relying on sources such as Bruselles Journal, sources that are undoubtedly selective in their coverage. Nonetheless, I have the sense that attitudes in Europe are changing. Is that all for the good? Probably not, given Europe's terrible recent history, but perhaps we will see more balance.

At 11:04 PM, January 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was wondering what Europe's reaction will be. It's difficult for me to imagine that they will be able to continue to believe that Palestine is a partner for peace if Hamas is in charge..."

I've lived in Europe. It is not difficult at all for me to think they will continue. In fact, I expect them to do so in earnest - pressing the issue.

Europe, like it or not, is at a great historical crossroad. A monumental one.

They may yet make the right turn.

But they have a hand to shake. It will either be (fundamentally and metaphorically) Osama's or Benedict's.

There is not a third hand for them to shake.

At 12:14 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger BobW said...

One of the 'escape hatches' the militiants used is now gone.
When Hamas attacks Israel, it will be the act of a Government - an act of war.

Prior to Hamas becoming part of the Government the liberals of the world would allow the Palestinians to shirk their responsibilty.
Different times now.

At 12:15 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

I'm sure the bombs will go off like clockwork.

At 3:05 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Dan M said...

The victory of Hamas isn't anything to be particularly troubled over. It changes nothing, in fact, it introduces a desperately needed clarity into a situation that heretofore has known nothing but falsity.

Regnant within the Pal community there exists a genocidal, totalitarian impulse. Whereas before our diplomacy and strategy has done all it can to avoid noticing that salient fact, now, cognizant of that sad, somber, sobering fact, we can contrive policies and strategies to minimize their threat, marginalize their leaders, confuse their rank and file, dry up their economics, and in short, defeat them.

No need to lose the faith, stiff upper lip.

At 3:11 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Dan M said...

As for the Europeans, it will take more than the emergence of Hams to unsettle them from their post-modernism.

Europeans are getting manhandled on trains, knifed and slaughtered at high noon, threatened with fatwas, intimidated in their universities, gang raped in darkened alcoves, and sometimes, gang raped in public places before witnesses too stunned, too shocked, too post-modern to do anything about it. From the scandanvian north cape to the lush, posh shores of the Riveria, from Brussels to Beslan, from Petersburg to Lisbon, and all the points in between, there is violence, fear, anxiety, rape, gang rape, female circumcision, and a host of other multi-cultural horrors. And before this rising tide of pathology, the post-modern European man offers what in response??????????????????????????

At 5:03 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger camojack said...

Perhaps we can hold out hope that once they have responsibility...they can behave responsibly? Or maybe that's just naive...

At 7:47 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger goesh said...

It must be nice to be a terrorist group like hamas or hizbullah and be totally exempt from the war on terrorism. I thought all islamic terrorists were supposed to be in cahoots with one another? You know, like one big den of venomous snakes, yet some of the snakes are exempt from any direct action. Hmmm. Money for hamas visa-via the 'peace process' will continue to flow from the West. I mean all they really have to do is promise not to buy weapons with the money and it will flow, right?
'Do you, hamas, solemnly swear you won't buy weapons to kill Jews with if we give you 1 billion for construction projects?'
'we solemnly swear on the graves of all our martyrs that we won't use your money to kill Jews with.'
-this of course will be followed with a big press conference proclaiming a major step forward in the peace process, etc. ad nauseum. Yeah right, we have a real war against terrorism, pass the barf bag please. Am I the only one that saw the palis dancing in the streets after 9/11? If Iran is ever able to get nukes and smuggle a couple into the US for detonation, the palis will celebrate again, and rightfully so - one should dance on the graves of fools and cowards.

At 9:12 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger ExPreacherMan said...

Great article, Neo.

Your analysis of Hitler's rise to power is accurate.. The interesting parallel to the Hamas/Fatah junta is the early battle in Germany between Nazis and Communists. Both political philosophies were/are driven by the goal of dictatorial world Socialism by whatever means possible.
Fatah and Hamas (and all Palestinians) are driven by the goal of the destruction of Israel by whatever means possible.

See my note "Israel: In The Coil of The Snake."

At 10:00 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

My only question about Hamas winning Palestinian elections, is whether or not they'll make the Department of Terrorism a cabinet position.

At 10:00 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Draconis said...

As a European, I wouldn't suggest that Hamas' election will change much. Certainly we suffered under a twenty year bombing campaign from the Provisional IRA with nothing more than a vague sense of annoyance that the US was trying to help out while never engaging their funding activities from North America.

But we find ourselves with Sinn Fein coming to the table and at least making motions towards some form of peace. We could have simply kept playing whack'a'mole with Irish freedom fighters...sorry, 'terrorists'...but surely 'talking', oft called 'diplomacy', is the first step towards creating a detente?

At 11:00 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

But we find ourselves with Sinn Fein coming to the table and at least making motions towards some form of peace.

This cheesy Sinn Féin/Hamas comparison just won't die, will it?

Even the rabid terror supporters at the Guardian don't believe it anymore:

"The pathology and psychology of Hamas are radically different to the IRA.."

"..Modern Sinn Féin started out as a party of no compromise, splitting from the Official Republican Movement because the latter moved to a historic compromise with unionism, and accepted the existence of partition and the reality of two states on the island of Ireland. Just over 30 years later, and with thousands dead, the Provisionals adopted more or less the same position as their old republican rivals. They had decommissioned the uncompromising parts of their ideology."

"In this life, Hamas offers its supporters (despite some verbal tricks) the unlikely prospect of wiping Israel off the map. In the afterlife, it offers its martyrs paradise and sex with dozens of virgins."


Hamas is a state-supported terrorist organization which receives petrodollars from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Like Saudi Arabia and Iran, Hamas supports the establisment of a worldwide caliphate state under Sharia law. These states have been using the Palestinians as a weapon in their war against Israel, as they use the 'insurgents' as a weapon in their war against us.

The IRA never promised their followers to wipe Britain off the map, nor were they financed by other governments. Your 'Irish freedom fighters' were fond of blowing up toddlers and grannies to make their political point. So is Hamas, but that doesn't mean they have the same goals.

At 12:19 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger troutsky said...

Is Israel a "partner for peace"? All nod yes.Will Condi get the Nobel Prize? Only if you patriots support her efforts.

As for Dans post modern chaos in europe, all they need is a little brown shirted discipline,and with a little charisma and an even littler mustache Dan might be the man to pull it off.

This democratic revolution has it's surprises....Palestine ,Iraq, Latin America,central asia,not always the winners we would have liked.Points to the ineffectivness of the modern CIA.

At 1:04 PM, January 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, the whole "I'm rubber, you're glue" routine Troutsky keeps spouting is getting tiresome. Everybody knows his brave revolutionaries are the ones spreading the Jew-hate; his pretending that it's really everyone else is just classic Orwellian doublespeak, or "postmodernist role revesal," as they call it in real life.

It used to be funny, but now it's just sad. Banning him would be an honest act of mrecy.

At 1:44 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger chuck said...

...all they need is a little brown shirted discipline,and with a little charisma and an even littler mustache...

Naw, nothing that fancy. They just need to follow the ideas of the guy who established the Checka, instituted the use of terror for its own sake, and discovered how to keep the Red Army in line by placing officers behind them to shoot deserters. The same prescient fellow who proposed to collectivise Russian agriculture before Stalin. Its all very simple, really. Nothing needed but the rational application of brutal force without the silly mediation of Bourgeois morality.

Of course, that clever soul seems to have neglected Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar and, when Lenin died, continued on his merry way to a well earned vacation near the Black Sea, leaving funeral arrangements to Stalin and avoiding the political maneuvers back in Moscow. A bright young fellow in his way, but limited. Nonetheless, in his time unprogressive activities were promptly dealt with and perhaps there is something there for the modern European.

For those with an interest, Trotsky's own analysis of his fall is in chapter 41 of his autobiography. Read his tortured explanation, bound up in the straitjacket of Marxist thought, and ask yourself why this poor soul couldn't understand the immemorial nature of man and society. Ask why he struggles so to analyse what would have been clear to any political thinker from the pragmatic Scottish Enlightenment. Ask why a man of such monumental political incompacity is considered any sort of authority on the matter.

At 4:09 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger troutsky said...

Please don't ban me , I will be less "rubber" like ,I promise.Surely you don't mind a little disagreement every once in a while here ? Which anti-semitic revolutionaries am I being linked with? I cannot defend myself without knowing the charges.

Is "post-modern role reversal" like compssionate conservative?I believe you will find my positions straightforward,if disagreeable.

At 6:05 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Troutsky, they are only surprises to you, who hopes for the end of history sooner rather than later and, therefore, cannot stick his head out far enough to see that changes always come when fate is left to chance. As to which anti-semetic revs you support: Chavez would be a likely candidate considering the fact that you are as giddy as a school boy about going to meet him.

At 8:34 AM, January 28, 2006, Blogger Jason Pappas said...

What are we going to do? We give Palestinians $500 million a year. Will we fund Hamas and become like Saddam in that respect?

It's time to pull the plug! No money to terrorists. We lied to ourselves before (or more exactly our politicians lied to us) but the facade has fallen and the terrorists are stark naked.

Let's stop supporting terrorism.

At 8:58 PM, January 28, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Anyone who knows the story of Hindenberg might well understand just how disgusted I really am concerning Parliamentary systems.

At 9:03 PM, January 28, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Troutsky, you got to remember that the good old days of Republican realists and isolationists are over. That mantle is now assumed by the Democrat party. We no longer care who actually "wins", because the whole point of democracy is to get them to fight amongst themselves while we pick them apart piece by piece, sector by sector, province by province. There goes Afghanistan, there goes Iraq, there goes Palestine, and now Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran are left.

We have shattered "Arab nationalism and unity", it no longer exists. Sunnis killing Al-Qaeda, Fatah stoning Hamas, Lebanese being assassinated by Syria and fighting back.

Isn't it Glorious, my fellow Revolutionary?

This is the new Revolution Here, people like you Trousky should be cheering. We certainly are.

At 9:15 PM, January 28, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

To those who are annoyed by Troutsky, some comments.

In the end, Republicans are the ones saving women, promoting peace and prosperity, saving the lives of children, and promoting Real Liberty and Free Speech. There is almost nothing to defend really, regardless of how we want to when we see Troutsky's comments and others like them.

The counter-Revolutionaries want to match us Force for Force? They are welcome to take on the United States First Marine Regiment and the 3rd Cav, because certainly they cannot match us ideology for ideology. What is Isolationism compared to Liberation? What is cynicism compared to optimism?

We got the power, the glory, and the future.

Because it was not the Democrats, that put their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in this risky gamble. (Assuming the Democrats who voted against the Resolution before they voted for it, had any honor)

The Democrats should stop worrying about why the military is full of poor dupes dieing for Bush's war, and start asking why there are more Republicans fighting in this war at the front lines than Democrats. There might theoretically be some democrats in the Marine Corps, but for some reason I can't believe the majority in the most military service of the US military is part of the Democratic Party.

I don't mind that Troutsky doesn't like Bush's policy or my philosophy. The only thing that ticks me off is the Democrats saying that they were the ones who saved us from the Soviet Union, taking credit for other people's work. Which, if you knew about Ward Churchill, shouldn't be surprising.

At 1:18 AM, January 30, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just that watching Troutsky try to debate is like watching a stray dog that just got run over by the 9-11 express dragging itself along the ground, with hiss guts hanging out and leaving a trail of blood and poop behind that he thinks is a valid argument.


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