(Left) In a clear demonstration of American strategy, Ambassador Nancy Powell and two well-dressed YCL cadres return to Tribhuvan Airport after a whirlwind shopping trip to New York City
The Maoists appear to steal an election at gunpoint and the Yanks welcome them with open arms?
A few explanations are in order, says blogdai. American policy, as blundered by George Bush and Co., can be summed up briefly and simply:
Any process that calls itself "democratic" should be viewed as an American foreign policy victory.
Maybe, to a small extent, they're right. Regardless of whether they were forced at gunpoint; and regardless of the fact that they were coerced and manipulated into a polling process that almost no one understood, Nepali citizens turned out to vote. At the very least they learned that their choices, coerced or not, can influence Nepal's political climate. This bodes well for the future.
The value of elections is just now starting to sink in with Nepalis. It would have been worse if the Yanks, Indians, Girija or whomever stepped in and nullified the process. What faith in the system would the average rural Nepali be left with in that situation? Most world bodies did not care for the resulting Maoist victories yet the respect shown to the election process by letting the results stand leaves a permanent impression on the average voter. Remember, faith in the electoral process, and ultimately democracy, lies in how well we all tolerate decisions and choices we don't like. It's easy to be a winner, it's democratic to take your losses with dignity.
So, Nancy Powell and the various U.S. State Department underlings are all talking with the Maoists and dangling the carrot of removing them from the Yank list of terrorist organizations. Watch for the following strategies to take hold:
--Prachanda will be swept up in a tide of diplomacy and increased foreign aid to the point where he is ideologically neutered and becomes just another greedy Nepal politico. Assimilation through dilution.
--You'll see no "ideological support" during this time. The Maoists will be pushed into playing by the rules. To assist in this, no new arms will be sold, given or shipped to this Maoist regime. The Yanks, just today, grilled Prachanda on how he plains to contain his YCL thugs.
--The Maoists may just blow it in front of the world's eyes. This would confirm to Nepalis, in the most concrete of terms, that we all knew the Maoists were a bad choice yet we respect your right to elect whomever you please--further demonstrating the principle pillar of democracy: protect elections uber alles.
--Prachanda has served the purpose of cleaning the political house. Girija and his inept administration have been maddeningly frustrating to work with from a competence and capacity standpoint. The Maoists will be no better, but the Yanks can now hope for a better day.