America’s National Security Strategy: The Hamas Factor

I’ve read through the National Security Strategy released by the White House today, there’s some interesting talk regarding the Hamas Factor. Most interesting of all, is the serious tone and serious weight the White House is attaching to the Hamas Issue.

The document clearly lays out what the White House considers a Democracy, and further clearly lays out that failure to meet those norms, likely means Hamas won’t be recognized as a legitimate democratically elected Government.

This, keeping in mind is a document globally concerned with security, the challenges to the United States, threats to the Republic etc, it’s the National Security road-map. This is the document on Pre-Emption and regime change, and the Bush Doctrine on Hamas is harsh, axis of evil harsh.

The references are in the Aspirations for Human Dignity sections, under the chapter:

2. Explaining the Goal: Promoting Effective Democracies

As tyrannies give way, we must help newly free nations build effective democracies: states that are respectful of human dignity, accountable to their citizens, and responsible towards their neighbors. Effective democracies:

* Honor and uphold basic human rights, including freedom of religion, conscience, speech, assembly, association, and press;

* Are responsive to their citizens, submitting to the will of the people, especially when people vote to change their government;
* Exercise effective sovereignty and maintain order within their own borders, protect independent and impartial systems of justice, punish crime, embrace the rule of law, and resist corruption; and

* Limit the reach of government, protecting the institutions of civil society, including the family, religious communities, voluntary associations, private property, independent business, and a market economy.

In effective democracies, freedom is indivisible. Political, religious, and economic liberty advance together and reinforce each other. Some regimes have opened their economies while trying to restrict political or religious freedoms. This will not work. Over time, as people gain control over their economic lives, they will insist on more control over their political and personal lives as well. Yet political progress can be jeopardized if economic progress does not keep pace. We will harness the tools of economic assistance, development aid, trade, and good governance to help ensure that new democracies are not burdened with economic stagnation or endemic corruption. Elections are the most visible sign of a free society and can play a critical role in advancing effective democracy. But elections alone are not enough – they must be reinforced by other values, rights, and institutions to bring about lasting freedom. Our goal is human liberty protected by democratic institutions.

A thourough outline of the ideals certainly worth fighting for, the basic ideals of our Democracies. Here’s where things start to heat up.. (emphasis is mine)

Participation in elections by individuals or parties must include their commitment to the equality of all citizens; minority rights; civil liberties; voluntary and peaceful transfer of power; and the peaceful resolution of differences.

Effective democracy also requires institutions that can protect individual liberty and ensure that the government is responsive and accountable to its citizens. There must be an independent media to inform the public and facilitate the free exchange of ideas. There must be political associations and political parties that can freely compete. Rule of law must be reinforced by an independent judiciary, a professional legal establishment, and an honest and competent police force.

These principles are tested by the victory of Hamas candidates in the recent elections in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian people voted in a process that was free, fair, and inclusive.

The Palestinian people having made their choice at the polls, the burden now shifts to those whom they have elected to take the steps necessary to advance peace, prosperity, and statehood for the Palestinian people. Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union (EU) because it has embraced terrorism and deliberately killed innocent civilians.

The international community has made clear that there is a fundamental contradiction between armed group and militia activities and the building of a democratic state. The international community has also made clear that a two-state solution to the conflict requires all participants in the democratic process to renounce violence and terror, accept Israel’s right to exist, and disarm as outlined in the Roadmap. These requirements are clear, firm, and of long standing. The opportunity for peace and statehood – a consistent goal of this Administration – is open if Hamas will abandon its terrorist roots and change its relationship with Israel.

The elected Hamas representatives also have an opportunity and a responsibility to uphold the principles of democratic government, including protection of minority rights and basic freedoms and a commitment to a recurring, free, and fair electoral process. By respecting these principles, the new Palestinian leaders can demonstrate their own commitment to freedom and help bring a lasting democracy to the Palestinian territories. But any elected government that refuses to honor these principles cannot be considered fully democratic, however it may have taken office.

This last part is particularly clear.. Sort of Democratic doesn’t cut it.

Hamas is in the cross hairs, step up to the plate, disarm, recognize agreements, recognize Israel.. Or you just might find yourself smack in the middle of the section on regime change. This isn’t a rhetoric pamphlet, it’s National Security Policy. It’s also a credit to the President of the United States, and his clear vision, at least someone is seeing straight.

The document makes clear reference to the international community vis a vis Hamas as well, Europe and the United Nations have been tagged.

In light of the fact that Hamas cannot abandon the Jihad, will never abandon the Jihad.. I’m thinking the whole Quartet thing is going to crack like a walnut pretty soon. In the mean time, I’m still digesting the ramifications of this document, they are sizeable. For the next three years, they are backed by the Presidential seal of the most powerful nation on Earth. (and No, it’s not France)

[tags]Hamas, US, Security, White House, Politics[/tags]