Beinart Gives Up on the Moderates

Peter is calling for U.S. talks with Hamas:

The argument for talking to a government that includes Hamas is that Hamas is more like the Taliban and the Baathists than like al-Qaeda. First, Hamas is deeply rooted in Palestinian society and thus very difficult to uproot by force. It operates a vast social-welfare network and according to many polls is now the most popular Palestinian political party. For 22 days beginning last December, Israel pummeled its institutions in Gaza, but the war hasn't turned Palestinians against the group. To the contrary, it is more entrenched than ever in Gaza and on the verge of seizing power in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon as well.

I'm not quite so ready to give up on the secularists and moderates (I know, I know, they're neither terribly secular nor terribly moderate by our standards, but everything is relative). And I also tend to think that power will not moderate the extremists. Khaled Meshaal and company are saying what needs to be said in order to make Hamas the undisputed leader of the Palestinian national movement. Once Hamas gets there, I tend to think its leaders will interpret their victory as a sign from God that He is with them, and behave accordingly. Which is to say, no participation in interfaith seders, for starters.