What the Hell Is Really Going Down in Honduras?
What the Hell Is Really Going
By Thomas P.M. Barnett
As the Honduran constitutional crisismoves inexorably toward some endgame (this, the original "banana republic," must eventually come in from the cold), let's go easy on tossing around the term "military coup" and reflexively comparing the situation to Iran'songoingtumult. According to the country's oddly prescient constitution, it was actually ousted President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya who had crossed the forbidden line. The military, in fact, was merely fulfilling its prescribed duty against Latin America's resurgent threat ofcontinuismo— the tendency of elected leaders to stay beyond their expiration dates, Chavez-style.
So complain all you want about U.S.-trained military leaders (yes, we're talking the Army's School of the Americas) engaging in extralegal activities down south again, because this time around the real defenders of constitutional order were the ones wearing the uniforms........
Imagine how Americans would treat a sitting president who suddenly started taking large amounts of political funding from, say, the Chinese Communist Party.
Honduras: Ally, Cocaine Way Station, or Both?
From the Honduranmilitary's point of view, their actions broke no law, and since the military never assumed power, calling these events a "military coup" is completely misleading.
From America's point of view, it seems clear enough that Chavez-style politics has its limits, so overreactions are to be avoided. But from a national-security perspective, when your own Drug Enforcement Agency is telling you (as a Bush official did a year ago) that Chavez has become a "major facilitator" of the flow of Colombian cocaine to America, and when there are credible reports that Honduras, under Zelaya, has joined that network as a trans-shipment waypoint, there definitely needs to be some limits to your diplomatic efforts to reinstate this suddenly revered "pillar of democracy."
Again, look for Hillary Clinton to generate some face-saving compromise, but don't expect easy answers, and don't expect them soon. It's good news that the interim Honduran government has said it's willing to negotiate with the OAS. So long as Team Obama doesn't bend over backward to meet Chavez's demands, we ought to be able to locate some outcome that respects Honduras's right to remain outside of Chavez's imperialist grasp — as it so chooses.