Falling Industrial Output
Some Political Economy "Concentrations": DRAFT

Joe Klein Is Shrill!

It's teh Republicans that have done it to him:

Hamas Hysteria - TIME: You've got to wonder what sort of anti-Israel, soft-on-terrorism nutjob said this after the elections that brought Hamas to power in 2006:

So the Palestinians had another election yesterday, and the results of which remind me about the power of democracy ... Obviously, people were not happy with the status quo. The people are demanding honest government. The people want services ... And so the elections should open the eyes of the Old Guard there in the Palestinian territories ... There's something healthy about a system that does that...

Wait a minute. That wasn't some pro- terrorist nutjob. It was George W. Bush.... Bush had a stake in the Palestinian elections. His Administration had demanded them, over the quiet objections of the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority -- both of which suspected that the service-providing terrorists of Hamas might win. And very soon after that initial, gracious statement, Bush changed course... refused to deal with the Hamas government unless it recognized Israel. The message to democracy activists in the region was crystal clear: We want elections unless we don't like the results of those elections. It stands as Exhibit A of the incoherence of the Bush foreign policy.

How to deal with groups like Hamas should be an important debate in the coming U.S. election, but it won't be. It was taken off the table... John McCain allowed his campaign to spread the word that Barack Obama had been "endorsed" by a leader of Hamas. That will be one of McCain's main lines of attack: Obama is soft on terrorism. He wants to negotiate with Iran. He has advisers like Zbigniew Brzezinski who have been "anti-Israel" in the past.... Obama responded quickly and definitively to McCain's attack. He told Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, "I've repeatedly condemned [Hamas]. I've repeatedly said ... since [Hamas] is a terrorist organization, we should not be dealing with them until they recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and abide by previous agreements."... [G]iven Obama's oft-stated position that we should be talking to all parties in the region, the Illinois Senator's position on Hamas can only be considered a sad abandonment of principles. And McCain's predilection for bluster marks him as a leader potentially less flexible than even Bush....

Meanwhile, the unofficial contacts that people like Malley have with Hamas are extremely valuable.... In Iraq, the U.S. military has had quiet talks with everyone from the Sunni insurgents in Fallujah in 2004 to the "special groups" in Sadr City today.... Why should it be easier for an Israeli politician to favor talks with Hamas than it is for an American?

"If you're not talking to everyone, you're going to be Chalabied every time," says Daniel Levy, an Israeli who has negotiated extensively with Palestinians, referring to Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi who helped mislead the U.S. into war with Iraq. Indeed, the next President will be negligent if he doesn't include someone like Malley in his circle of Middle East advisers. There is a need to keep all channels open in that insanely complicated region. It is tragic that both McCain and Obama seem poised to fail this essential test of leadership.