Central American ‘coup’ provides answer for many conservatives who maintain that the administration’s approach to foreign policy is non-existent or, at best, inconsistent — in reality, it’s quite the opposite
Since the weekend, I’ve been following the ongoing political situation in Honduras with interest and curiosity. Reading that the United Nations adopted a resolution today mandating that all U.N. member states refuse to recognize any Honduran government other than that of the nation’s ousted leader finally was enough for me.
As it turns out, the transition of political power in a small Central American nation has perhaps taught me more about our own president and his foreign policy–not to mention how that foreign policy is embraced by the rest of the world–than any other occurrence or set of events so far, and the way it has been handled by the rest of the world has sent chills up my spine — quite different, I assure you, than a thrill up the leg.
So far, the goings-on in Honduras has been widely reported by pretty much everybody as a “coup” but, in reality, such a characterization could not be further from the truth. In fact, what we’ve seen in Tegucigalpa has been a nation upholding its constitution, peaceably taking action to maintain the rule of law. And it is that distinction which lends so much insight into our own president’s designs, goals, aspirations and mere tendencies.
Like in the United States of America as it stands now, Honduras is a nation bound by a constitution. And, much like in America, a head of state in Honduras is bound by term limits, though in that country it constitutes a single, four-year term. For a better understanding of exactly what is going on in Honduras, I want to play a little “make-believe,” venture a few steps into the realm of God-I-hope-not:
The year is 2016, four years after American President Barack Hussein Obama won a decisive re-election victory over the Republican Party’s Colin Powell, a moderate candidate foisted upon the American political right by means of a constant bombardment of misinformation, specifically that the GOP could only see success by abandoning its conservative roots. The American economy is in shambles, but the state of crisis only leads the poor and politically ignorant to believe that government cures all, and that contrary to what Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned of back in January 2008, blind faith in the state’s omnipotence is the only key to renewed prosperity.
As a result, Obama has pushed for a special vote intended to serve as a litmus test determining public support among the politically ignorant for the possible repeal of the 22nd Amendment, thus lifting the provision for term limits added to the U.S. Constitution in the wake of the exponential expansion of government during the four terms of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt and allowing Obama to serve as president in perpetuity. The proposed vote is met with opposition from concerned Americans on both sides of the political spectrum, and the twice democratically-elected president of the United States is forced out by judicial and legislative branch officials simply honoring their sworn obligation to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.
Almost instantaneously, people from across Europe–where Obama is loved second only to David Hasselhoff–and leftist leaders from across the globe denounce what they deem a “coup.” Obama himself travels to New York City and addresses the United Nations; shortly thereafter, the world body adopts a resolution demanding that all 192 member nations refuse to recognize any government in the United States other than that led by Barack Hussein Obama.
Given the hypothetical, what business would the United Nations have in determining whether or not a sovereign nation upholds its Constitution? Yet, in the case of today’s resolution, that’s exactly what the United Nations is doing with regard to the situation in Honduras. That nation has a constitution, its people are looking to uphold it, and yet the rest of the world is siding with an ousted leader fraught with dictatorial aspirations.
And our president has joined dictators like Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega in embracing him. Not only that, but the very same Barack Obama who, purportedly afraid to “meddle,” waited for ten days before voicing support for those in Iran seeking freedom from a tyrannical regime–and waited days after that to rescind an invitation to celebrate July 4th with Iranian diplomats–almost immediately came to the aid of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, trying to stop the so-called “coup” and later denouncing the action as “illegal.”
Here’s the very same American president who, just six months before in his historic inaugural address, called upon the American people to “let it be said by our children’s children that . . . we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations” and yet, instead of championing freedom, Barack Obama has done nothing but support dictatorships and tyranny, whether it be through his fervent protests in terms of those seeking to uphold their constitution in Honduras, or those laying their lives on the line for freedom in Iran.
It is the root of Obama’s selective action and inaction which is so telling, and which worries me. While conservative pundits everywhere are beginning to argue that the American foreign policy under Barack Obama is aimless, that it is non-existent, I find myself worried because I see its stark consistency.
For Obama, see, it’s all about justice, and the resulting worldview has been bred into him from his beginnings, and reinforced by those in his inner circle. (After all, it’s the concept of “justice” which made Michelle Obama so “proud of her country” for the first time after her husband began to gain popularity during last year’s campaign.) Previously, I led myself to believe that our president’s yearning for that nebulous goal of “justice” only affected his domestic policy — I saw it as the reason for his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court vacated by Justice David Souter; I saw it as the inspiration for increased goverment control over the banks and automakers; I’ve seen it as the driving force behind the socialist aspects of the cap-and-trade legislation currently working its way through Congress. Yet striving for “justice,” whatever that may be, greatly affects his approach to foreign policy as well.
Previously, I had dismissed Obama’s approach to foreign policy as “detente-at-all-costs,” an unintended homage to former President Jimmy “Dhimmi” Carter. But I don’t think that’s it. Detente, it seems, is just a desired side effect of Obama’s justice-driven foreign policy. After all, it’s that hope for his brand of “justice” which allows him to weigh in on where Jews can build homes in Jerusalem and embrace a wanna-be dictator in Honduras but not want to “meddle” with affairs in Iran.
The question, however, remains: what, exactly, is Barack Obama’s definition of “justice?”
I don’t know. But I’m starting to understand it. When he finally broke silence on the uprisings in Iran, President Obama never once spoke of the protests in terms of freedom, choosing instead to define them in terms of a frustrated people seeking “justice.” And his statements on Iran, of course, come weeks after he spoke to the Muslim world in Cairo, delivering a speech during which he weighed the moral equivalency between Palestinians wandering the desert for six decades looking for a home and the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.
Justice, to Barack Obama, seems to hinge upon government being the ultimate arbiter with regards to fundamental rights bequeathed upon an obedient people. The Palestinians had no such government to trade in fundamental rights, so such an absence of governance was a travesty on par with the death of six million Jews. With regard to Iran, Obama’s silence itself is telling, as he likely felt as though “justice” demanded the current regime stay in power, but capitulated after ten days of silence only due to political pressure from those on the right and left. And with regard to the ongoing situation in Honduras, in the interest of his brand of “justice,” Obama could do little else but side with Manuel Zelaya, as he believes that government knows what is best for the people, even if that means scrapping the constitution in order to provide that government in perpetuity.
That’s why the so-called “coup” in Tegucigalpa shed so much light, at least for me, on Barack Obama’s own tendencies. Conservatives often argue that liberals are unable, in terms of foreign policy, to discern between good and evil. When Barack Obama is concerned, however, it is becoming increasing obvious that the struggle is not so much between forces of good and evil as it is between liberty and tyranny. Sadly, that very constant I’ve found in Obama’s foreign policy, the consistency so many conservative commentators seem to believe to be missing, is that he will always side with the latter.