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WEB EXCLUSIVE: America to the Rescue

It has become fashionable once again to proclaim America’s decline. Books herald a “post-American world” and the “end of the American era.” The question is no longer whether America is Rome but how best to manage our inevitable fall. Few of the international-relations pundits who prophesy the decline of America and the concomitant advancement of China, India, Russia, and regional bodies like the European Union, appear worried about the prospect. Indeed, many seem downright pleased by “the rise of the rest.”

Recent events in the Central American nation of Honduras, however, put a dent in the grand theory of American decline.

The ouster of President Manuel Zelaya, which occurred after his brazen gambit to subvert the Honduran constitution by holding an illegal referendum in an attempt to end presidential term limits, has created one of the most nail-biting political crises in recent Latin American history. Whatever the circumstances of Zelaya’s expulsion (claims that what transpired in Honduras constituted a “coup” are weakened by the validation bestowed on the military’s actions by the Supreme Court and attorney general, as well as the consideration that the country is currently run by a civilian government), the situation remains tense. It reached its most dramatic point when, a little over a week after his ouster, Zelaya attempted to land a plane in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, only to be prevented from doing so by a military blockade of the runway. Most nations have recalled their ambassadors and cut off much-needed aid.

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