No Enemies On the Left

The Honduran legislature, judiciary and military, acting in support of the rule of law, have removed President Manuel Zelaya from office, and US President Obama wants none of it. Obama and the media have mischaracterized the events as a “coup d’etat” when they were really a last-ditch attempt by the Honduran political establishment to block Zelaya — who is being aided by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez — from holding an illegal referendum in an attempt to circumvent term limits on his office. The Obama administration is siding with Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega and Chavez against the democratic Honduran government in an attempt to get Zelaya reinstated. (Mary O’Grady’s excellent column is a good summary of the events and issues. Fausta and Gateway Pundit have much additional information and links.)

The best that can be said about our president’s involvement in this issue is that it risks transforming a difficult situation into a disaster. Absent US pressure (never mind US support) the Honduran political scene would likely return to something like normal, with popular and media focus shifting from the deposed Zelaya to the coming elections. By getting involved in support of Zelaya we probably make a drawn-out crisis inevitable, and we green light further subversion of Honduran democracy by Chavez and Ortega. In the worst case a military insurgency or civil war supported by the dictators is conceivable. That would be a catastrophe.

Honduras is small, poor, weak, generally pro-USA and depends heavily on our trade and goodwill. The Obama administration may figure that it can push the Honduran government around, and that may be true. But why should we get involved at all? Obama could say that he supports Hondurans’ right to representative government, and that we will help if asked, and leave it at that. That would be prudent. Why does he instead prefer to step into mud of unknown depth?

I think the likely answer to this question is either that the Obama people don’t know what they are doing or that they are acting out of ideological bias. Ordinarily I would assume incompetence, and I think that Obama is indeed incompetent. But as with Obama’s hostile treatment of Israel — another small, pro-American country — the Obama administration’s incompetence in Central America follows a clear ideological pattern. Anyone who does not see by now that Obama is a determined leftist radical with a transformative national agenda that most Americans don’t want is either blind or not paying attention.

Seablogger puts it well WRT Honduras:

The terrible precedent will in fact be set if this would-be dictator and ally of Hugo Chavez is returned to power through US meddling, just days after Obama spurned any meddling with Iran.
Obama’s true affinities are now exposed for all to see. Take a look, Obama voters. Do you really want the US aligned with Castro and Chavez — actually doing their bidding? Do you want the US siding with the blood-stained regime in Teheran, for the sake of imaginary future diplomacy?

(See the Seablogger post for full context of the above quote.)

We are on course for disaster, all because so many American voters have had it so good for so long that they thought it would always be so, and that they could afford to throw away their votes on an attractive cipher.

UPDATE: See also this post at Power Line, and Babalu is on fire with many excellent posts about Honduras.

UPDATE 2: Caroline Glick reaches similar conclusions:

The only reasonable answer to all of these questions is that far from being nonideological, Obama’s foreign policy is the most ideologically driven since Carter’s tenure in office. If when Obama came into office there was a question about whether he was a foreign policy pragmatist or an ideologue, his behavior in his first six months in office has dispelled all doubt. Obama is moved by a radical, anti-American ideology that motivates him to dismiss the importance of democracy and side with anti-American dictators against US allies.

UPDATE 3: Andy McCarthy on Obama and Iran:

The key to understanding Obama, on Iran as on other matters, is that he is a power-politician of the hard Left : He is steeped in Leftist ideology, fueled in anger and resentment over what he chooses to see in America’s history, but a “pragmatist” in the sense that where ideology and power collide (as they are apt to do when your ideology becomes less popular the more people understand it), Obama will always give ground on ideology (as little as circumstances allow) in order to maintain his grip on power.
It’s a mistake to perceive this as “weakness” in Obama. It would have been weakness for him to flit over to the freedom fighters’ side the minute it seemed politically expedient. He hasn’t done that, and he won’t. Obama has a preferred outcome here, one that is more in line with his worldview, and it is not victory for the freedom fighters. He is hanging as tough as political pragmatism allows, and by doing so he is making his preferred outcome more likely. That’s not weakness, it’s strength — and strength of the sort that ought to frighten us.

27 thoughts on “No Enemies On the Left”

  1. Why? Because heis a hard left totaitarian, that is why.

    Nothing could be clearer. Obama and the current Democrat leadership are completely outside the American tradition.

    It is as if we lost the Cold War. They are out to destroy everything that is good on us.

    It is shameful that he is in the WH, but the real shame is that the American people are not outraged by the fact he is there.

    This latest response to Iran and Honduras clearly highlights what he is about.

    I say that, but is it really just Obama? Id he not just a figure head? Just who is really running the country?

  2. Was reading Fausta’s comment thread yesterday – lots of interesting information. A man from Honduras described how government workers were threatened to be fired if they wouldn’t sign the Zelaya'”ballots”. How people who depend on government healthcare were told they’ll get none until they vote for Zelaya – curios, no? In light of our own impending national healthcare.
    I’ll copy my own comment @Neo below, if you don’t mind (have to leave and have no time for rephrasing):

    ranting of Chavez and his accusations that the whole thing was a US plot (as well as Obama’s hasty reassurances that it was not, and that he supports Zelaya

    Chavez can’t believe his luck! He is still afraid of US power and what we used to represent, of our prestige earned by a century of US dominance in the world politics. Right, it is impossible to believe that we ourselves, with our own hands, undermined our position by letting – bloodlessly – an ideological fellow of his in the post prominent office in the entire world. It seems so incredible to him – he suspects a trap and decides to play it safe, by singing the old song of “US meddling”. The new reality of US only meddling in world affairs on his side didn’t yet set in.
    But I don’t think Obama is that smart; a real politician, one for whom politics is profession learned, not just means to glorifying oneself, would at this moment act differently. He would keep his mouth shut on public, to not compromise himself and his own standing in the eyes of his electorate – and send his assurances to his new allies behind the scenes. Obama is so gullible…he believes in what he hears from his courtiers – that he is, in fact, so awesome, that he can afford open encouragement of tyrants!

    If this all didn’t concern our country, what a funny spectacle it would be…

  3. This part should be a quote from Neo’s post:
    ranting of Chavez and his accusations that the whole thing was a US plot (as well as Obama’s hasty reassurances that it was not, and that he supports Zelaya

  4. No one talks about how we will now get along wonderfully well with “Europe”. We don’t. Obama has dissed them all, and the media does not report it.

    Obama likes third world dictators. He does not like democratically elected leaders, he does not like the rule of law.

    The dreams he got from his father were of post-colonial dictatorship.

    Fortunately the moderating influence of Chicago-style greed and corruption may take the edge off his worst instincts.

    The Ds are looking to repeal the 22nd amendment.
    Obama can be president for life, like Mugabe.

  5. “Honduras is […] pro-USA”. Yes, but pro the old, pre Obama, evil USA. So that makes them evil.

    I’m sure Obama wanted to shaft Columbia as well, for the same reason – but the free trade arrangements had already gone too far by the time he got in.

  6. He (and the Democratic Congress) are shafting Colombia, by refusing to ratify our trade treaty. Colombia is a great success story, yet Obama treats the Colombians shabbily and is deferential to the dictators.

  7. “Do you really want the US aligned with Castro and Chavez — actually doing their bidding?”

    Silly question. Of course they do. Obama votes wear Che T-shirts, put Cuban and Che posters on their wall, admire Franz Fanon, admire Mao… what part of this is a surprise? It’s not the mask that’s come off Obama: he represents, accurately, the wish and will of Democrat party, its supports, hangers-on, followers, and officials.


  8. Jonathan-

    I am not sure I buy this.

    The opposition would be in the right if they had waited. If they had waited until the Honduran congress had impeached the President. But they didn’t. Instead, the military broke the standstill. It was not the courts, nor the congress that removed Zelaya from power, but the military. They produced a court order seeking his arrest — after they had arrested him. Congress produces a letter of resignation (mostly likely forged or produced under duress) after Zelaya is gone.

    And what does the interim government do once they take power? They shut down dissenting media outlets, refuse international media access to the country, break up protests, issue a curfew and send tanks down the street.

    Yes, what Zelaya was doing was illegal. Yet in cases of democratic governance, fire should not be used tp fight fire. The abandonment of democratic institutions before they have been tested by the opposition cannot be supported. Nor can any coup that removes a democratically elected leader before it is given the authority to do so. Post-hoc approval by the remaining branches of the Honduran military is not enough to justify this coup.

  9. That’s OK. The EU is supporting Zelaya as well. And some of the European governments. But then they do not believe in democracy. See Irish referendum to be run again in October because we cannot have the people giving the wrong answer.

  10. Jonathan, thanks for the update on the Columbian situation. I thought the free trade agreement had gone through. And thanks also for deleting the troll comment.

  11. T. Greer,

    Zelaya was trying to establish a political fait accompli that would be difficult to reverse. He defied the Honduran court by pushing ahead with his referendum even after the court had ruled it illegal. I don’t see why additional formal process was necessary to enforce the court order, particularly since it was likely that Zelaya would have expoited any delay to advance his referendum. If the referendum had actually been held Zelaya’s opponents probably would have boycotted it, which means it likely would have “passed,” leaving the country in political disarray. The Honduran establishment may have mishandled the media or made other tactical errors, I don’t know, but I think they were wise to remove Zelaya without further deliberation.

  12. The court ruled the referendum illegal. It did not rule that Zalaya was to be removed.

    Or at least, it did not rule that Zalaya was to be removed until after Zelaya had been flown to Costa Rica. If the referendum been brought to a vote (much less passed), the Honduran Congress would have been justified in impeaching Zelaya, and the military would have the authority to detain him.

    Simply put: the military did not have the authority to detain the President at the time of his detainment. Their actions were not legally mandated. If the opposition had been able to wait a couple more days, allowing governmental institutions to run their course, then the detainment of the President and the establishment of an interim government would be both legal and legitimate.

    It stands where it did before; post-hoc approval by the court and congress is not enough to excuse a coup.

  13. O’Grady points out that the Honduran attorney general had announced that he would enforce the court’s order and prosecute anyone who attempted to carry out the referendum, so I don’t see how you come by your certainty that the govt was not following the law. And I don’t think it’s obvious that the govt (not “the opposition” as you call them) had a couple of days to spare, since Zelaya was trying to get his referendum done ASAP. Zelaya is a Chavez ally and everyone in Honduras knew that he was trying to set himself up as president-for-life in Chavez’s mold. He might well have succeeded if the govt had not acted quickly. Given the high stakes it sounds like the govt made a conscientious effort to follow the law.

  14. “Fortunately the moderating influence of Chicago-style greed and corruption may take the edge off his worst instincts.”

    True, Lex.

    May I add that the US’ insolvency will also serve to cripple his power. Be thankful for small favors.

  15. When discussing Honduran law and politics, we have to measure it against their own Constitution and not ours. The Constitution of 1982, which is what is operative now, was written with a strong emphasis on preventing a return to dictatorship. The Constitution itself expressly forbids any changes to the term of the President, and that section, along with several others designed to block any new dictator are specifically listed as being not subject to any amendments under that Constitution. There are several key Articles. Foremost of which is:

    ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Designado.
    El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño de sus respectivos cargos, y quedarán inhabilitados por diez años para el ejercicio de toda función pública.
    TRANSLATION – Article 239.- The citizen that has been the head of the Executive Branch cannot be President or Vice-President (again).
    Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.

    In addition there is Article 42, which strips the citizenship of any Honduran who tries to extend the term of the president.

    In view of this, it seems that the Honduran Congress, Supreme Court, and Armed Forces acted legally, Constitutionally, and successfully in accordance with their oaths.

    One wonders [not really] what the reaction of those who are bemoaning the actions of the Honduran government would be if Buraq Hussein Obama would announce at the end of a second term [you do not know how hard it was to type those words]that he was going to amend the Constitution to allow him to have a 3rd term by way of a special referendum run by the Army and ACORN. And immediately thereafter both Congress and the Supreme Court said not only no, but “Hell,No!”.

    Would you say that we should wait until after he was inaugurated for a 3rd term to do anything; or would you do as I suspect most Americans would, and cheer as our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines frog-marched him out of the White House, and left Congress to sort out the succession according to the 25th Amendment?

    To be honest, Zelaya is fortunate beyond belief not to have made the acquaintance of a wall, a blindfold, and a last cigarette.

    Moving back to the original discussion of Obama’s ideology, and that of his followers; for all practical purposes there is no alternative but to conclude from their foreign and domestic actions that Buraq Hussein Obama, his administration, and the entire Democratic Party are enemies of the United States. And that this situation is not going to end well.

    Subotai Bahadur

  16. Andy McCarthy is always a bastion of sense, but that article of his is still (to me) surprisingly forthright, even for him. I gather he got some heat for it, but subsequent events have shown him to be correct nevertheless. I’m pretty sure a sizeable majority of people will have a good idea of who is The Real Obama by 2012 and he consequently won’t be re-elected. But I’m also afraid the damage will have been done by then. The fate of the health and energy bills in the pipeline now will be crucial. If they both go down that could cripple the whole transformative program. If not …

  17. Re Obama: Might I suggest that Katrina indicates the problems we as a nation might encounter when we see ourselves as being saved by the “crook” in Obama and hoping that mediates the totalitarian, ideologue? So this is our choice – a 3rd world kleptocracy or Stalin? Sure someone who has hung out with Bill Ayers we can probably safely assume has not been put off by the democide that followed in the wake of so many totalitarian ideologues of the twentieth century and someone out of Chicago politics may not see the end of rule of law all that bad if it lets him keep his hand in the till.

    Does anyone else long for the speeches of Gerson, perhaps haltingly but honestly delivered by Bush – ones that took pride in our history and even more pride in the ideas we tried, if imperfectly, to define in our actions and constitution?

  18. I believe that in 2003, Honduras struck its constitutional provision on impeachment without replacing it. Getting rid of Zelaya through impeachment is straight out. The impeachment proceedings were unlikely to pass muster. Putting him on trial as a common criminal while he is the head of a co-equal branch is also a very bad idea.

    Zelaya wanted a constitution that would allow his reelection. To get that done within the law would have first required changing the provision that punishes advocating such a change with a loss of Honduran citizenship. This would have taken votes in two separate Congresses and then a referendum. After the advocacy would have been legalized he would have to modify the clause stating that the no reelection rule is unamendable. Finally he would have actually had to amend the no reelection rule. It would have taken 6 elected Honduran Congresses to have 6 votes and the people would have had to do 3 referendums confirming it all. If everything would have gone Zelaya’s way legally it would have been done sometime during the 30s. It is an indictment of our political class and our media that most people have not been educated on these facts.

    The law was not good enough for Zelaya. He is a man in a hurry and was willing to shred the law to get what he wants. That the Supreme Court ordered his arrest on treason charges is understandable. The vice president having recently resigned, the next constitutional successor is Micheletti who, after this ‘coup’, is president. Funny sort of coup, that.

    The trial that would have followed was destined to become bogged down over the sorry state of Honduran impeachment proceedings and the coequal status of the branches of government and would have provoked a constitutional crisis that would have likely lasted until invasion (Chavez publicly threatened it if they moved to remove Zelaya and there were reports of infiltrators from Nicaraugua) or the next election provided a new President to replace Zelaya (if Zelaya would have recognized the elections).

  19. As everybody knows, neither the White House, State or the media (except the WSJ) have reported the facts of the Honduran case.

    The White House, State and the media accept the narrative that rich landowners dominate Honduras in order to exploit the downtrodden proletariat. Only land redistribution can break the power of the evil landowners because it takes land from the evil rich and gives it to the noble poor.

    Therefore, the Honduran Constitution, the Honduran Supreme Court, the Honduran Legislature, the Honduran Laws are all illegitimate because they were written at the direction of landowners.

    This is why Obama, Castro, Chavez, CBS, NBC, ABC, NYTimes, LATimes, and WaPo all claim that there was a coup in Honduras and that Chavez’s and Castro’s puppet, Zelaya, should be anointed Dictator of Honduras.

    Does this matter to anyone? Yes. It is a 180-degree reversal of US foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere, it reverses the US position on Marxism (now we embrace it) and Democracy (we oppose it unless it is Marxist “Democracy”).

    Here we thought Marxism was dead. Marxism has been reborn!

  20. The current administration is one of radical collectivism emerging from one of the most corrupt political entities in the nation, whose proclivities must be well understood by anyone posting at a blog partially named for that very city.

    What is it that is so surprising? Obama and his advisors are merely aligning themselves with their natural allies—the collectivist, corrupt, and authoritarian.

    Peas in a pod.

  21. All of this may be obvious to us but many people don’t see it. I blog about it because sometimes it helps to point out the obvious, and even if that’s not true in this case I feel better for having written about it.

  22. Jonathon, please do not take my comment as any criticism of you for posting your article. I agree with why you did it.

    I was merely pointing out that finding this administration in bed with Chavez et al is just as surprising as finding a pigeon in the park with a bunch of other birds who look suspiciously like other pigeons.

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