September 13, 2009

Obama punishes international democrats and rewards international tyrants

Donald B. Hawthorne


...the Honduran government disclosed yesterday the identity of the officials whose visas have been revoked by the United States as part of Washington’s continuing pressure to reinstate former president Manuel Zelaya, namely, the successor president and 17 other officials...The revocation of the visas for the 14 Supreme Court judges is a nice touch. In the future, even a unanimous Supreme Court faced with a violation of the country’s constitution will think twice before engaging in a "judicial coup."

North Korea:

Completing (or could there be more?) its streak of capitulations to rogue nuclear-wannabe states, the Obama administration has agreed to direct talks with North Korea. The welcome mat it is now out: lob missiles, declare your nuclear ambitions, snatch Americans, and your reward is direct, one-on-one talks with the Obama team...


The Obama administration has folded, blowing through its self-imposed deadline and agreeing to “talks” that Iran has declared won’t concern limits on its nuclear program.

Meanwhile: "Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in his second address to the nation since the turmoil over the June presidential election, set a tough tone for where the country is heading: No compromises with opponents outside or inside Iran...Mr. Khamenei reiterated that Iran wouldn’t bend to Western powers when it comes to its nuclear program. To give up rights, 'whether nuclear right or otherwise, would result in a nation’s demise,' he said." One sense that Obama is morphing into Jimmy Carter before our eyes—with potentially more dangerous results...

More Iran:

And the White House is expecting "concrete action" from Iran. Honest. Soon. Or at the end of the year. Or whenever. Isn’t that what the September 15 deadline was all about? Not anymore.

Back in the real world: "Iran said on Saturday it would not back down in its nuclear row with the West, a day after the United States said it would accept Tehran’s offer of wide-ranging talks with six world powers.'We cannot have any compromise with respect to the Iranian nation’s inalienable right,' Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference, in language Iranian officials normally use to refer to its nuclear program." Iran’s response, we are told by the U.S., was "nonresponsive," so naturally the U.S. will immediately commence talks. If this appears to you to be unintelligible and embarrassing, you are not alone.

Even more Iran:

...By the end of the day, the administration had announced that September was, well, not really a deadline and that we would be entering into talks despite Iran’s not having agreed to discuss its nuclear program. In fact, Iran had already said the opposite. But we’ll be talking anyway.

One wonders what Rep. Berman thinks now. The administration has made itself, and those who were banking on some onset of diplomatic sobriety, look foolish. Those in Congress who were moving forward with an array of sanctions to enhance Obama’s bargaining position have been undercut by an administration that apparently doesn’t want its bargaining position enhanced.

The administration has prostrated itself before the Iranian regime and afforded it still more time to continue with its nuclear-weapons program. It has signaled that it has neither the will nor the interest to set deadlines or enforce them, and that it has failed to lay the groundwork for sanctions...

More on the threat from Iran. Discussing Iran, Power Line states that "Neville Chamberlain had more spine than Barack Obama."

And all of this is in the best interests of the United States, how?


Afghanistan. Rubin comments:

This may be the most damning, but not the only, indication that the president doesn’t have his heart in this. There’s the aversion to pursuing "victory." And the leaking game over troop levels and various options also suggests the "do what it takes" sentiment is not in full flower. A robust commitment to military victory does not come naturally to Obama...

More here.

And, of course, tyrannical regimes only become more aggressive when they sense weakness, leading to the geopolitical problems becoming inter-related.

Obama's tariff action toward China, the country largely funding the record Obama deficits. Rubin's comment:

As if we didn’t have enough economic problems: "President Barack Obama on Friday slapped punitive tariffs on all car and light truck tires entering the United States from China in a decision that could anger the strategically important Asian powerhouse but placate union supporters important to his health care push at home." It seems a trade war is the only war Obama is unreservedly enthusiastic about.

All of these failures by Obama to lead and protect America will eventually have serious adverse consequences for the United States' strategic self-interest.


More Honduras here and here:

Yesterday, I pointed out that Reuters refers to Honduras’s Roberto Micheletti as a "ruler"; the wire service refers to the totalitarian dictator Fidel Castro as a "leader." Several readers wrote to say that it’s even worse than I portrayed: Reuters calls Micheletti a "de facto ruler." A reader points out that "de facto" means "actually existing, esp. when without lawful authority (distinguished from de jure)." He continues,
The press keeps pushing the fiction that there was an unconstitutional coup in Honduras, when the opposite is the case. The Hondurans were defending their constitution against a would-be despot, and the world — with the American president leading the charge — wants to punish them for it.

Stark. Blunt. True? It would appear so.

Funny about our new president. He seems to reserve his harshest words, and biggest stick, for two little, struggling democracies: Honduras and Israel. (Obviously, Israel faces greater challenges than Honduras, no matter what shape the Central American country is in.) Would that he were a fraction as tough on bad regimes — Iran’s, North Korea’s, Sudan’s, Venezuela’s, Cuba’s, Syria’s — as he is on those little democracies Israel and Honduras. Funny, this president.

By the way, he called Chávez "mi amigo" — his friend. Would he call Micheletti that? Even Uribe? He yukked it up with Daniel Ortega (over the Bay of Pigs). Would he yuk it up with Micheletti?

Curious, our new American president.

P.S. He doesn’t accept the legitimacy of Honduras’s government. Does he accept the legitimacy of Cuba’s?


Eastern Europe: Obama leaves our freedom-loving friends dangling.


More Honduras:

...five nations in Latin America commemorated 188 years of independence: El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Secretary of State Clinton issued five press releases (one with respect to each country) conveying regards on behalf of the people of the United States.

To the people of El Salvador, she offered "warm wishes and congratulations." The people of Guatemala got "warm congratulations"—not wishes and congratulations, but still nice. To the people of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, she simply extended "congratulations"—apparently not warm ones.

And to the people of Honduras, she sent neither congratulations (much less warm ones) nor even warm wishes—just "greetings." And, she noted, "worry and sadness":

On behalf of the people of the United States, I send greetings to the people of Honduras as they commemorate 188 years of independence. . . . The turmoil and political differences that have [recently] divided Honduras are a source of worry and sadness. I remain hopeful that the spirit of Francisco Morazán, a founder and visionary leader of Honduras, will help return your nation to a democratic path that will unite and inspire, rather than divide and discourage, and rebuild the ties of solidarity that have characterized your relationship with the Americas.

When your Supreme Court enforces your constitution, and your military forces obey their orders, and your Congress virtually unanimously chooses the successor president, and the new head of state is a member of the prior president’s party, and representatives of religious and civil society tell the Organization of American States they support the actions of their government, and the previously scheduled presidential elections will be held on time, in about two months, with international observers welcome, you have—in the view of the Obama administration—abandoned the "democratic path."

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"the fiction that there was an unconstitutional coup in Honduras"

One really does get the uneasy feeling that President Obama, who is presumably very well briefed and informed on such matters, is not clear as to who in Honduras was acting in conformity with their constitution and who was not.

Is something being left out of his briefings? Or is he deliberately and inexplicably reacting erroneously?

Posted by: Monique at September 13, 2009 7:50 PM

From CNN's coverage of the US-sponsored "crisis" in Honduras:

"A presidential campaign in Honduras kicked off last week. However, the United States said it would not support the outcome of the elections unless Zelaya was restored to power."

I don't even know what to say about that. We won't acknowledge the results of a democratic election unless a former President is illegally restored to power, even though he would have been ineligible to run regardless? So, now, if Zelaya is never restored to power, Honduras will never have a legitimate government in the eyes of the US? If he were to die, does the right of leadership pass on to his children?

Posted by: Mario at September 14, 2009 5:50 AM

That's not a good development.

Posted by: Monique at September 14, 2009 7:08 AM
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