The Obama administration finally got its first foreign policy victory, in Honduras. But it appears to be merely symbolic, with Chicago-style bullying still going on in the background to force Honduras to allow Manuel Zelaya back into power.
The government of Honduras has agreed — subject to conditions — to the return to power of Zelaya. In exchange, the international and U.S. sanctions and boycotts would be dropped, the late November presidential election would be recognized, and Zelaya would give up his attempts to eliminate term limits.
While the actual agreement text hasn’t been released, here are the reported details which appear to put the ultimate decision on Zelaya’s hands in the Honduran Congress:
The agreement appears to soften [interim leader] Micheletti’s previous stance that the Supreme Court — which has already rejected Zelaya’s reinstatement — decide the issue. Instead, the high court would make a recommendation, but the final decision would apparently be left to a vote in Congress.
The agreement would create a power-sharing government and bind both sides to recognize the Nov. 29 presidential elections. The international community had threatened to not recognize the vote if Zelaya is not reinstated, but on Thursday, OAS Political Affairs Secretary Victor Rico told reporters that “the United States and the OAS will accompany Honduras in the elections” as a result of the accord.
Hillary Clinton falsely and deceptively asserted that this deal was a restoration of Honduras’ constitutional order:
“I cannot think of another example of a country in Latin America that, having suffered a rupture of its democratic and constitutional order, overcame such a crisis through negotiation and dialogue.”
In fact, as documented here repeatedly, it was the Obama administration and OAS which were seeking to violate the Honduran constitutional order. If up to the Obama administration, Zelaya would have been returned to power months ago without any protection against his attempt to abolish term limits, so that he would become a Hugo Chavez-like president for life.
It is only because Honduras stood up to the Obama administration that Honduras’ constitutional order was preserved.
The Obama administration’s deception aside, I can’t tell from the news reports if this deal is as bad as it seems. Zelaya’s return is contingent upon a vote of the Honduran Congress, which supported Zelaya’s ouster. It may be that the fix is in and the Congress will vote for his return, or it may simply be a way for Michelleti to appear to be caving in without giving up anything substantive.
Regardless, the wrong lesson will be learned by an Obama administration in search of something it can call success: Bully our friends and coddle our enemies.
In fact, this lesson already has been learned. According to La Gringa’s Blogocito, the likely vote in the Honduran Congress is against Zelaya’s return, but the U.S. Ambassador is pressuring Honduran Congressman to vote for Zelaya’s return to power.
A phony made-for-TV compromise which allows Obama to declare victory, while the bullying of our ally continues off camera. Chicago comes to Honduras.