Now, don't tell me this surprises anyone (via Dvorak Uncensored):
Political spin masters in Lebanon have been trying in recent days to explain the results of a pivotal special election last Sunday, which saw a relative unknown from the opposition narrowly beat a former president, Amin Gemayel.Since this is not a surprise and anyone with even impaired cognitive ability would obviously realize that, as overwhelming Middle Eastern sentiment stands at odds with "American interests," any reasonable attempt at a "free and fair" election in the Middle East would never result in a favourable outcome for the White House.
There has been talk of the Christian vote and the Armenian vote, of history and betrayal. One explanation, however, that all agree on proved crucial in this race: Gemayel's support by the Bush administration, and the implied agendas behind such support, seem to have helped doom him.
"It's the kiss of death," said Turki al- Rasheed, a Saudi reformer who watched Sunday's elections closely. "The minute you are counted on or backed by the Americans, kiss it goodbye, you will never win."
The paradox of American policy in the Middle East - promoting democracy on the assumption it will bring countries closer to the West - is that almost everywhere there are free elections, the American-backed side tends to lose.
By favourable outcome, I mean that which is ostensibly the one publicly desired. But, more and more, it seems obvious that US foreign policy is tending toward achieving increased conflict and stress, not less. And not just in the Middle East.
Indeed, Bush administration policy paints a wide swath of intensified friction across Eurasia. Hence, agitation with Iran; arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other gulf states; arms sales to both Pakistan and India; a nuclear deal with India with a proviso for nuclear testing; arming and funding Sunnis and the Shiite Maliki government; missile defense deployment in Eastern Europe, Hamas elections happily fractionating Palestinians, and by which Condeleezza Rice claimed to be "surprised" though signs were readily apparent; subsequent funneling of arms to Fatah. Iraq, of course, is the hot zone in the middle of it all.
In light of this smorgasbord of hot and cold conflict entrées, "losing" a few hundred thousand guns in the middle of it seems like par for the policy course and hardly appears to be anything out of the ordinary.
That's pretty cynical on my part, I know. Either that, or it is really cynical on the part of the White House (I will again urge a viewing of No End in Sight to further enhance cynicism about this administration). Given what we know about how the Bush administration really cares about the troops, I doubt the White House has much concern for the US forces caught in the middle of a conflagration onto which the administration continues to dump fuel.
I would appreciate seeing some kind of reasonable argument that increased tensions do not serve this administration's interests. I haven't seen one yet. And I strongly suspect the prevailing attitude within the White House remains: Hell, just send 'em some more Red Bull.
See this movie!