Assigned Reading: U.S. Moves Toward Formal Cut Off of Aid to Honduras
For taking action to uphold its constitution and maintain the rule of law, Honduras and the Honduran people could soon be without as much as $150 million in aid from the United States. Officials in the State Department have recommended, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that the federal government cut off all funding to the country in the aftermath of what the Obama administration considers a “coup.”
The ouster of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, however, was no such thing. Zelaya attempted to secure himself another term as president, running afoul of his own constitution in the process, and was removed from office for doing so. What we saw in Tegucigalpa in late June was nothing short of the prevention of the emergence of a dictatorship.
If you recall, the situation in Honduras arose as the Iranian people were still collecting in the streets of Tehran following a fraudulent election in that nation, and it was Barack Obama’s inaction with regard to Iran and sprint to action with regard to Honduras that finally helped me put a finger on his foreign policy philosophy. I wrote the following passage at that time, and as we prepare to forsake an impoverished nation for doing the right thing, the lawful thing, it seems even more relevant:
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.