Some obvious reflections. On the negative side, we have a clear indication that a majority of Palestinians elected a government dedicated to the destruction of Israel. On the positive side, we have a clear indication that a majority of Palestinians elected a government dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In other words: we're done with the minuet with duplicitous, double-dealing crypto-terrorists claiming to want a negotiated peace. The good news is that this empowers the Israelis to continue their largely successful policy of unilateral withdrawal and the construction of the wall. It's also true that Hamas was elected in part to clean up corruption, provide real services, improve law and order, and so on. Now the bluff is called - and Hamas will have to deliver. Democratically accountable governments tend to focus on the state of the sewer system rather than on theological battles with the anti-Christ. All good.

Still: we have no assurance that Hamas will be committed to real democracy when its turn comes to be judged by voters. Fascist movements sometimes come to power democratically, but they rarely submit themselves for re-election. We have also found that democracy is not incompatible with Islamist terror. That's a big deal. It may be that democratically-elected Islamist maniacs are a necessary stage before a more mature democratic system emerges. All I can say is: that necessary stage also scares the hell out of me. Put Syria, Hamas-run Palestine, Iran, and al Qaeda together and you don't have an axis of evil. You have an axis of clear and present danger.

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