Sunday, October 4, 2009


There are a number of misleading statements in James Kirchick's latest article on Honduras. First, he calls the administration's determinations in the wake of the coup "hasty", and, more generally, overly supportive of Zelaya. In fact, the Obama administration did not immediately call Zelaya's removal a coup, and Hillary wouldn't call it a military coup as recently as a few weeks ago. More broadly, the left has been all over the Obama administration for not doing more to bring about Zelaya's return.

Second, he writes that Obama's support for the Zelaya is motivated by the Left's mania for apology:
[Obama said] "it would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections. We don't want to go back to a dark past." His invocation of U.S. support for armed opposition movements fighting communist insurgencies in Latin America during the Cold War is one of numerous apologies for past American actions that he has offered since taking office, a tactic which seems to be a core tenant of his diplomatic strategy.
There was as a matter of fact no apology in the quote offered, nor anything resembling one. Obama was merely supporting democracy as opposed to advocating its subversion, a position I don't ever remember Kirchick rejecting in the past.

Lastly, based on a single Library of Congress report (which is not, to my knowledge, the locus of US foreign policy considerations) and the opposition of Jim DeMint, he writes, "What explains the administration’s continued intransigence?" He sets up the question as though the Obama administration was completely alone among respectable governments in denouncing Zelaya's ouster, when in fact the coup turned the miraculous trick of uniting Calderón, Uribe, Chávez, and Castro behind one single point of view. Not that that should dictate American policy, but, as an alternative to basing an entire article on a single report, isn't the unified opposition of the Western Hemisphere's governments relevant enough to include?

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