The case of Honduras

In Honduras the Obama administration seeks the restoration to power of a lawfully deposed Chavista thug. Among other things, in pursuit of this objective, the administration has cut off aid and yanked visas from Honduran officials who supported the thug Manuel Zelaya’s removal. These officials reportedly include the fifteen justices of the Honduran Supreme Court and Jose Alfredo Saavedra, president of the Honduran Congress.
According to Mary Anastasia O’Grady: “The lesson, presumably, is that judges in small foreign nations are required to accept America’s interpretation of their own laws.” O’Grady rightly observed: “The upshot is that the U.S. is trying to force Honduras to violate its own constitution and is also using its international political heft to try to interfere with the country’s independent judiciary.”
From the perspective of the national interest of the United States, the administration is running a fool’s errand. The case of Honduras presents a remarkable example of Obama’s foreign policy. It is a foreign policy that provides a continuing lesson in how to alienate friends and amuse enemies.
We await only the speech in which Obama explains how Americans have at long last overcome their inordinate love of freedom. A reading of Charles Krauthammer’s important essay on Obama suggests that such a speech would illuminate administration policy both at home and abroad.
The Chavista thug supported by the administration snuck into Honduras last month. Since then he has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy.
On his recent trip to Honduras, Senator Jim Demint made an interesting discovery: “In a day packed with meetings, we met only one person in Honduras who opposed Mr. Zelaya’s ouster, who wishes his return, and who mystifyingly rejects the legitimacy of the November elections: U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens.”
Senator Demint sought an explanation of the administration’s policy: “When I asked Ambassador Llorens why the U.S. government insists on labeling what appears to the entire country to be the constitutional removal of Mr. Zelaya a ‘coup,’ he urged me to read the legal opinion drafted by the State Department’s top lawyer, Harold Koh.”
Senator Demint would like to read Koh’s opinion. “As it happens,” Senator Demint reports, “I have asked to see Mr. Koh’s report before and since my trip, but all requests to publicly disclose it have been denied.” Senator Demint also noted the analysis prepared by the Law Library of Congress confirming the legality and constitutionality of Zelaya’s ouster.
The government of Honduras continues to negotiate with representatives of Zelaya to resolve the current crisis. The negotiations were in the news again yesterday. The negotiations bear on the prospective treatment of the outcome of Honduras’s regularly scheduled presidential election on November 29. The Obama administration, of course, has joined others in threatening not to recognize the outcome of the election if the current crisis is not resolved to its satisfaction with Zelaya’s restoration to power.
For those seeking an understanding of the sum and substance of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, Honduras provides an excellent case study.

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