There isn’t much going well for the Obama Administration right now, and that’s kept the White House from riding its favorite rhetorical metaphor: the high horse. But when all other moral high grounds fail, they never get tired of flogging Hondurans.
This year, we’ve had North Korea launching missiles at our allies, shipping military supplies to our enemies, and renewing its nuclear weapons program; Iran hiding its own nuclear weapons program from the world; Russia strengthening its hold on territory in Georgia; Libya celebrating a terrorist’s homecoming; but the only nation whose actions warranted harsh punishment from the U.S. government was Honduras.
First. when Honduras acted to protect its constitutional system and remove a president unrepentant in his treason, the President called it a “coup,” and the State Department ordered the interim Honduran government to allow former President Zelaya to return and finish his term.
When Honduras refused the Administration’s edict, it struck back, withholding all non-humanitarian aid from Honduras ($32 million) in an effort to force a change in policy. When the Honduran democrats refused to budge, the U.S. revoked the visas of all officials who participated in Zelaya’s removal and exile. The grounds? That Zelaya should be allowed to finish his term in office as the elected leader of Honduras. Apparently Democrats believe that once you’re elected president, there’s nothing you can do that makes your ouster appropriate, but we already knew that.
Then, the White House threatened not to recognize the outcome of Honduras’ November presidential elections. Mind you, these elections were planned long before Zelaya was removed from office. In fact, it was these same elections that Zelaya was trying to hijack, by holding a referendum intended to allow him to run for president again. But nevermind that – the Obama Administration apparently believes that all democratic activities in Honduras are tainted by Zelaya’s ouster — even though he couldn’t participate in them even if he had remained in office. State Department officials called this maneuver “putting [Honduras] in a box,” which may or may not be like putting Baby in the corner.
So, you might have thought the State Department was pleased by the news last week that Zelaya had sneaked back into the country and was hiding out in the Brazilian Embassy. But no – that, too, was an occasion for tut-tutting in Foggy Bottom. After initially calling for “restraint” from all sides, the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States unloaded on Zelaya:
“The return of Zelaya [without] an agreement is irresponsible and foolish. He should cease and desist from making wild allegations and from acting as though he were starring in an old movie,” said Mr Amselem at an emergency meeting of the OAS.
“Having chosen, with outside help, to return on his own terms, President Zelaya and those who have facilitated his return, bear particular responsibility for the actions of his supporters,” he added.
Of course, in the spirit of indiscriminate disdain for Honduran government officials, the good Ambassador didn’t hesitate to take the interim government to task for refusing to allow his buddies in the OAS to intervene and for declaring a state of emergency in the country.
Once again, we are left wondering exactly what the Obama Administration wants out of Honduras and its leaders. It tries to uphold its democracy by removing its treasonous president, and it loses economic aid. It tries to defuse the situation by removing the ex-president from the country, and it’s called a coup. Its leaders continue to operate as a democracy in the weeks and months since the president’s ouster, but their visas are voided by the United States. It continues to plan for elections in November, but the U.S. refuses to recognize them. The U.S. demands that the ex-president be allowed to serve out his term, but when he returns to the country, he’s called a fool.
We recognize no constitutions, no elections, no rule of law, no leaders worthy of respect. Sounds like the White House is desperate to install a banana republic in Honduras.
But that can’t be right, because
[n]o one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional divisions between nations of the South and the North make no sense in an interconnected world; nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War.