The Honduras situation is described in this morning’s New York Times as “this most unconventional international saga”–a “most atypical coup” that has “stuck to no script” and has left “veteran diplomats [and] foreign policy experts . . . scratching their heads.” But the situation is actually considerably clearer than the Times suggests.
Time magazine reports on former President Manuel Zelaya’s strategy:
After Zelaya told the Miami Herald earlier this week that the Micheletti government was “threatening me with death” and that “Israeli mercenaries” were trying to zap him with high-frequency radiation, Brazil admonished him to soften his rhetoric. . . . Micheletti supporters, however, suggest that’s part of Zelaya’s strategy. The only way he can win, they say, is if his demonstrators can prevent the country’s Nov. 29 presidential election from taking place, or provoke security forces into atrocities that would force the U.S. or the U.N. to intervene more forcefully.
The crisis began in June, when the Honduran Supreme Court ordered Zelaya removed from office after he disregarded its order prohibiting a Chavez-like referendum designed to keep him in office. Revising the Honduran constitution before the November election was the only way he could “win” back then, and stopping the election remains the only way he can “win” now.
The obvious way out of the crisis–especially for someone whose guiding principle is “we always want to stand with democracy”–is to endorse the November election as the best means of resolving the situation in a democratic fashion; send international observers to ensure that the election is free and fair; and then respect the people’s choice. Not only is the best way to end a “most untypical coup” an election (particularly since the former president’s term ends shortly anyway), but, as luck would have it, there is already one scheduled.
But the Obama strategy has been preemptively refusing to recognize an election, in favor of restoring to office the president who tried to steal it while also ignoring the stolen presidential election in Iran. There must be a coherent foreign policy in there somewhere.