If the Obama administration has a coherent foreign policy, the theme seems to be “Do the Opposite of George Bush”. Since the Bush foreign policy was heavy on denouncing tyrants and strongmen and long on promoting democracy on multiple fronts and in multiple ways, undoing that will necessarily mean cozying up to folks like Mad Mahmoud, Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, and the killers of Hamas and throwing the people of Iran, Georgia, Israel, and the democratic government of Honduras to the wolves. As William Jacobsen puts it, we seem very willing to speak softly to tyrants and enemies and use the big stick on our friends.
That’s the only answer I can come up with to explain why, less than 24 hours after the Honduran government legally removed Manuel Zelaya from office, the President called the action “not legal” and said the United States would not recognize anyone by Zelaya as President. That position is identical to those taken by Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and the Castros in Cuba. When our President finds himself standing alongside those three degenerates squawking the same Marxist song, he should leave a sonic boom in his haste to get on the right side of the issue. Instead, President Obama has dug in and made statements that will be difficult to retract, including threatening to revoke the paltry amount of foreign aid we give to Honduras.
I just don’t get it.
While I’m at it, let me note a little bit of dishonest reporting from Reuters as well.
This is how Reuters summarized the situation.
Zelaya, in office since 2006, was overthrown in a dawn coup on Sunday after he angered the judiciary, Congress and the army by seeking constitutional changes that would allow presidents to seek re-election beyond a four-year term.
This isn’t much in this paragraph that’s true. To read it, you’d think that the Honduran government was acting out of pique (which, incidentally, would support the President’s claim that it didn’t act legally) caused by Zayala’s reasonable attempt to allow Presidents to serve for more than one term.
Except that’s not what happened at all and Reuters needs to issue a retraction for flat-out lying about the situation. You can get the quick rundown here, but the upshot is that the government didn’t remove Zelaya not because of what he wanted to do but how he wanted to do it.
Of course, it suits Chavez, Castro, Ortega, and Obama just fine to have the story understood the way Reuters told it.
Then Mrs. Clinton made a most remarkable statement. She said, “Some might say President Obama is left-of-center. And of course, that means that we are going to work well with countries that share our commitment to improving and enhancing the human potential.”
So, under conservative presidents, America is not committed to improving and enhancing the human potential? What a statement! Our government is indeed bewildering right now. If I can wax just slightly demagogic (but only slightly): Are we intent on being approved by Chávez, Ortega, and the Castros? Or are we standing up for U.S. interests, principles, and values? Come on!
It seems that, under President Obama, democracy and the rule of law aren’t included among our “interests, principles, and values”.