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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rick Richman at Contentions:

In the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Mary Anastasia O'Grady wrote [note: Link goes to Google search so you can hopefully get in to the WSJ and read the article.] that cables released by WikiLeaks show that the administration knew Honduran President Manuel Zelaya had threatened Honduran democracy -- but supported him in order to offer President Obama a "bonding opportunity" with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and a chance to ingratiate himself with Latin America's hard left.

O'Grady believes this helps explain why the administration went to such extremes to try to force Zelaya's reinstatement despite the obvious remedy once the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court had upheld his removal for attempting to thwart the election of his successor -- hold the already scheduled election between the already duly-chosen candidates, on the date already set, which was only a few months away...

I believe this explanation makes sense, though Richman offers another interpretation, more personal to Obama:

...I have a simpler explanation -- not inconsistent with O'Grady's analysis but closer to the common theme in Obama's foreign policy in other areas. The day after Zelaya was removed, Obama pronounced it a "coup." That snap judgment remained American policy even as more and more facts contradicting Obama's description emerged. After months pushing a reinstatement that virtually every element of Honduran political and civil society opposed, and even though the proper and practical solution was apparent, Obama still engaged in mystifying diplomacy, cutting off aid to a poverty-stricken ally. Three months into the "crisis," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley made this statement about the Honduran government's intent to hold its election:

There's a sense that the de facto regime was thinking, if we can just get to an election, that this would absolve them of all their sins. And we're saying, clearly, that is not the case.

Crowley asserted the election the Honduran legislature and judiciary sought to preserve would not "absolve" them of "all their sins." Honduras had apparently offended some sort of god...

I'm not sure how much I go along with this sort of Obama personality analysis, but the fact that it's fairly clear that the US Government knew that Zelaya was no good but went to bat for him anyway does nothing to dispel the notion that our behavior toward Honduras was a shameful chapter in US foreign policy history. If the administration were casting ideology -- and morality -- to the wind in order to score realpolitik points and demonstrate that they could achieve something with a former Bush foe, they certainly made a hash of both the politics and the morality.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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