Friday, September 04, 2009

Obama Screws Up Honduras

According to the Washington Post, Obama is threatening not to recognize the winner of Honduras' constitutionally mandated democratic election in November if the interim Micheletti government doesn't step down and allow Manuel Zelaya to step down.

I've written before on this mess, and later tried to clarify that there was no coup here. Rather, the whole saga is an attempt to deal with the impeachment of a president who should, according to the constitution, clearly be impeached, but unfortunately also dealing with a constitution that doesn't provide a means for impeachment. It's an internal affair that, if we quit our ridiculous posturing, would all work itself out in November when Honduras elects a new democratically elected president and neither Zelaya nor Micheletti have a claim to anything.

I honestly don't understand what Obama thinks he's accomplishing. There's no strategic gain to supporting an unpopular leader who should have been impeached. There's no moral imperative here - no one's imperiling Honduras' democracy here (and if anyone was doing so in the first place, it was Zelaya, who started this whole kerfuffle by trying to unconstitutionally extend his own time in office). So Obama should leave Honduras alone, let Costa Rica President Oscar Arias deal with the negotiations, and see what happens in November.

Unless this is an attempt by Obama to kneecap Honduras in advance of our important World Cup qualifier there on October 10. In which case... interfere away.


Miguel said...

To quote one of your older posts: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Our foreign policy for the last several decades has been one of madness. That Obama is continuing the madness of forcing "democracy" down other nation's throats is not surprising at all.

Ben said...

Putting aside the (admittedly important) details of the Honduran's how the contrast between Bush and Obama plays in Latin America.

Bush: Elected, but authoritarian, Venezualan president Hugo Chavez - longtime opponent of the United States - is temporarily removed from office by the military. Bush cheers, confirming the longstanding impression in Latin America that the United States prefers pro-America dictators, however horrible (Pinochet, anyone?) to anti-American politicians.

Obama: Elected, but increasingly authoritarian, Honduran president Manuel Zelaya - longtime opponent of the United States - is removed from office by the military. (Yes, I know legally speaking it was the Supreme Court. But, given the Latin American history of military coups, it's a detail I believe is lost on the wider public.) Obama, rather than cheering the ouster of an anti-American politician, joins the rest of the Americas and decrys the "coup." The impression is that this Administration, unlike others, is willing to uphold democracy in spite of its own interests.

It's actually an important difference.