The Second Version

14/08/07

The Return of the Useful Idiots

On August 12, the Italian prime minister Prodi said that Hamas does exist but it should be helped to evolve (into what is not clearly specified).

Now, as a declaration of principle this may be passable.
The existence of Hamas is a fact so nothing to object here. And one can reasonably agree with the idea of helping them to evolve, but some issues need to be examined first.

The final and propulsive objective of Hamas is to destroy Israel - and to kill the largest number of Jews in the process. As long as this is their objective, any agreement or truce cannot be considered as being in good faith, but only as a tactical/strategical decision intended to reach the same old objective.

Only a Hamas that sincerely and completely renounced the destruction of Israel could be taken as a good-faith negotiation partner.

So one wonders, does Prodi know this?
If he does not, he is too ignorant and uninformed to be the Prime Minister of Italy.
If he does, there are two options left: either he's speaking from an ideological rather than pragmatic position; or he is actively helping Hamas.

I am convinced that the first option is the correct one: Prodi is a pretty much by-the-book tranzist, and his statements fits well within such ideology. But this way he acts much like the useful idiots of the past - and the Hamas folks, who instead are very smart and pragmatic in foreign policy, have almost surely recognized the fact.

But even if we accept the proposition that Hamas should be helped to evolve (rather than fought to total defeat), Prodi still has to explain how to do it - the best plans are worthless if there is no way to put them into practice.

The best - and often only way - to accomplish something of this kind is the use of carrots and sticks. But the EU has a long story of being able to offer only carrots and no or pitiful sticks. What carrots and sticks is thus Prodi proposing to use? No, I don't want to know details that ought to be classified, but only the general policy address.

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