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July 01, 2009

Pic of the Day: Hondurans Ask Obama to Help Them Defend Their Constitution

Good pic.

Zelaya's court-ordered, congressionally-approved replacement says the only way Zelaya returns to power is at the head of an invading foreign army. Which isn't out of the question, which sort of suggests that maybe Honduras was right to depose this guy.

TNR has a good article scolding Obama for fetishizing the trappings of democracy while undermining the reality of it. Interesting reading:

unday's coup in Honduras has been portrayed as a throwback to the bad old days when Latin American armies got drafted in as the ultimate umpires of political conflict. But in arresting president Manuel Zelaya in his pajamas and putting him on the first plane out of the country, Honduras's generals were acting out of fear of a genuine and growing threat to Latin Democracy: the looming prospect of unchecked, hyper-empowered executive power held for life by a single, charismatic individual.

Seen in context, Sunday's military powerplay was different in important ways from the traditional Latin American putsch. The generals move came at the unanimous--yes unanimous--behest of a congress outraged by Zelaya's not-particularly-subtle attempts to extend his hold on power indefinitely. It followed a series of clearly unconstitutional moves on Zelaya's part, including his attempt to unilaterally remove the chief of the army, which, according to Honduras's Constitution, can only be done by a congressional super-majority.

And congress's request had been seconded by the nation's Supreme Court, which is sworn to uphold a constitution that explicitly makes the act of "inciting, promoting or backing the continuation in power or re-election of the President of the Republic" punishable with the loss of Honduran citizenship.

So while we wince at the image of soldiers kidnapping a president, it's important to recognize that the move against Zelaya was, if not strictly speaking constitutional, certainly institutional.

The Honduran constitution, then, expressly forbids any attempt by a president to change the constitution to seek additional terms -- for good reason, of course, given the tendency of Latin American "democracies" to endure for precisely as long as a current president wishes to allow elections. It further deputizes the Supreme Court in guaranteeing this one-term-only-no-exceptions clause, and further strips the citizenship from anyone attempting any shenanigans.

Whether this was strictly by the book I have no idea, but clearly Zelaya was breaking the law -- the core political law of Honduras: No Unending Political Power by Strongmen -- and the rest of the government was charged with stopping him.

Naturally, then, Obama's on Zelaya's side.

Closely related, Leon Weisthaler critiques those liberals, including at his own magazine, making excuses for Obama:

[W]alzer was hardly the only liberal making bleak excuses for Obama's zealous refusal to show any zeal. We shall not be moved, indeed. But Walzer got it exactly backward....

Obama's parsimonious performance in the first weeks of the rebellion in Tehran, the disappearance of his eloquence and his championship of change, was an attempt by the president to impersonate the rest of us, to be just another saddened consumer of tweets and feeds. Hence his refrains about "bearing witness" and "the world is watching." That is uplift for a demonstration, or a vigil. Witnessing and watching are varieties of passivity. The rest of us witness and watch, because we can do little else. (Hitting "send" is not a muscular form of political action.) Obama seems to think that there is some force in the admonition that the world is watching; but history plentifully demonstrates that when the world is watching, all the world does is watch.

...

I do not agree that Obama's diffidence about liberation and human rights is owed entirely to a fear of nuclear proliferation. He has another commitment. He is determined to be the un-ugly American. This excites him. He is consecrated to an engagement with the Muslim world, which is not entirely consistent with a consecration to democracy. Even as the brutality of the ayatollahs was increasing, Obama made a point of referring graciously to "the Islamic Republic of Iran," as if it would be a slander against Islam or Iran to refer to the regime in a less legitimating manner. (The commentators are declaring a "crisis of legitimacy" in Iran, but there can be no crisis of legitimacy where there is no legitimacy.) Why does Obama care so much for Khamenei's good opinion? Khamenei will blame the West whatever the West does, because he believes that the West is forever to blame. Khamenei responded to Obama's rapture in Cairo with this. And soon, if he is to act according to his plan, Obama will have to sit down with Ahmadinejad. Perhaps he will shake his hand. Perhaps he will he wear a green tie. There are many ways for an American to be ugly or un-ugly. The hearts of millions are about to be broken. They will look to the president of the United States. Will his mincing cease? Will the realist get real? In recent days Obama has begun--not under pressure, of course--to "condemn" and to "deplore." The oppressed people of Iran may now endure what other oppressed peoples have endured: the learning curve of an American president. It is the insult that history adds to their injury.

I don't think it's just about being an "un-ugly American." We have twice now seen Obama ally with tyrants, actual or would-be, over democrats, simply because those tyrants were historically the sorts supported by the anti-American left.

Meanwhile he continues to deliberately snub Britain, a former colonial power despised by the anti-American left.

As Goldfinger said, "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

UN Ambassador Rice Refuses to Call Iran's Government "Illegitimate;" Justifies "Meddling" In Honduras, Though: Odd that some coups are worth pointing out and others are not.

I disagree with this:

Like it or not, The Oneís going to end up having to pick a side here and siding with the regime simply isnít viable politically. The only question is when heíll throw in with Mousavi. Tick tock.

I hate to say it but it seems the revolution is crushed. A bit of gasoline thrown on the fire at a key moment could have engulfed the country, but Obama instead threw sand on it.

Obama won't have to choose because, with his tacit permission, the regime is going to kill everyone it can get away with killing and arrest and beat those it can't. Then Obama gets his way, gets his thuggish pals back in power and has overseas pen pals to exchange love letters with, and can bask in the praise of the tyranny-loving left.

Just Curious: If I'm right and Obama has engineered, to the extent he can, the continued power of the mullahs, will anyone in the media question him on "losing Iran"?

Hmmmm... Putting lie to Spaceballs' claim that evil will always prevail, because good is dumb.

Or at east providing some nuance -- evil is dumb, too.

The ballots Ahmadinejad is displaying on TV, to prove he "won," appear completely fake, all with the same signature and all crisp and unfolded.

Like they were all just run off a printer, which of course they were.


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posted by Ace at 03:02 PM

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