Is it me or is this news just plain dumbfounding? The U.S. and Israel's first response to a democratically elected Hamas government in the Palestinian territories is to derail it? And not just subtly, but openly? And then we find out that "the United States and the European Union in particular want any failure of Hamas in leadership to be judged as Hamas's failure, not one caused by Israel and the West." Maybe the reporters garbled something. But a policy of democratization in the Middle East does not exactly gain credibility when its architects try and destroy whichever government emerges from democracy. The rationale seems to be that Hamas did much better in the allocation of seats than in the wider vote. But that applies to dozens of democratically elected governments the world over. I can certainly see why the U.S. and the E.U. might want to put conditions on aid to the Palestinians. But if you want to have the worst of all worlds, insist on democracy and then insist on undermining it.