There comes a point, sometimes, when logic is denied, reason is abandoned, and that vital connection to reality is severed. Once upon a time, we called this a nervous breakdown and prescribed a rest cure. Now, we call it a press conference and take notes.
The fact is, with the Hamas victory -- the democratic election by Palestinian Arabs of a Nazi-like terrorist organization dedicated to annihilating Israel and replacing it with a Sharia state -- something in the common culture of world elites has snapped.
From the White House to the European Union, the Hamas victory, with its disastrous implications for peace and democracy, is more than any one powerful person seems able to accept. So they don't. They are, as the therapeutic community might say, in denial.
Take President Bush's analysis of those election results. "The people are demanding honest government," he said. "The people want services. They want to be able to raise their children in an environment in which they can get a decent education and they can find health care."
Honest government? Services? Hamas is "honest," all right, when it comes to its bloodlust for Jews, and maybe it can deliver to its constituents "services" related to Israel's destruction, but I doubt that's what the president had in mind. But neither did he have in mind anything connected to the reality that Palestinians have voted for terror with no "peace process" (Hamas), not a "peace process" with terror (Fatah). Not much actually separates Hamas from Fatah, but it's enough to send the global-erati over the edge.
Such as the United Nation's Kofi Annan, who said that he thinks "most of them" -- "them" being Palestinian voters, who, kind of like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," sent Umm Nidal, proud "Martyr Mom" of three suicide bombers, to parliament -- "were voting for peace, they were voting for better conditions, they were voting for an honest government." Funny how he didn't mention they were voting for terrorists.
EU diplomat Javier Solana also looked the other way. "It's my guess that a good number of people who voted for Hamas didn't vote for the Hamas platform. They voted for a group of people they believed was less corrupt. ... I don't think that the majority of the people that voted for Hamas voted to be an Islamic Palestine."
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.