A polite term for this is wishful thinking. It's OK when you're a kid trying to extend the myth of Ho-ho-ho for just one more Christmas; it's not OK when you are a world leader trying to rationalize millions in aid to a maniacal killing machine. And therein lies the rub. Between Europe and the United States, the PA receives about $850 million a year, and the election of Hamas brought the Western moneybags to a moment of truth.
But only briefly. There was talk in Europe of withholding money from Hamastan until the terror-gang exchanged its covenant of mass murder for the Boy Scout pledge, but that went on just long enough to find a new, supposedly temporary, rationale to fund the PA. Eureka: "Of course Hamas is a terrorist organization," a European diplomat said, no doubt exhausted after several hours of standing on principle. "But cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority would play straight into the hands of the extremists among them."
Funny, I didn't know there were non-extremists among them. "If their leadership (Hamas) can find a way to live up to the obligations that have been undertaken, to peace, to the existence of Israel, to renouncing violence, I think there's a very good way forward," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Once, there was realpolitik; now, we are deeply into dreampolitik, where policy is based on an irrational wish of what might be. Secretary Rice seems particularly afflicted, lately given to raving that Palestinians have "long been known for their tolerance." Tolerance of what -- Hamas?
Harvard psychiatry instructor Kenneth Levin has written an illuminating new study of such political denial called "The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege" (Smith & Kraus, 2005). In this book, Dr. Levin applies the lessons of psychopathology to explain self-destructive patterns of delusion and appeasement that have characterized the Israeli experience in recent years. I'm afraid this dangerous syndrome is proving contagious to the rest of the world in an era when there's no time for a rest cure.