Thursday, May 27, 2010

US response in Honduras as part of a pattern...

CBS News has published a thoughtful analysis by Dilip Hiro that examines the foreign policy record of the Obama administration. His conclusion: the bungled handling of the Honduran coup is typical of a pattern of under-estimating opponents, and backing off and assuming a conciliatory posture once other states resist direction.

Lots to think about here; not entirely in agreement, but it does speak to what remains a debate among Honduran colleagues, which is: how to explain the disastrous way the Obama administration responded, with the mixed signals they sent continually undercutting the unified resistance of the rest of the world to legitimating the coup?

(On the road so no analysis-- but note that Hiro manages something most English-language media still cannot: correctly describing the precipitating events of the June 28, 2009 coup.)

1 comment:

Nell said...

A better explanation might be the pattern the Obama administration has established in other areas, like torture/detention and health insurance: fine-sounding initial declarations, followed by a steady dribble of actual reversals, deals with the devil, and solidification in law and precedent of some of the worst of the lawlessness and bad policy.

The basics of the actual, unchanging U.S. policy were in view as early as two days after the coup: fig-leaf restitution of a crippled Zelaya at best, always with the willingness to ride it out to the magically cleansing elections if need be. Actual change in the policy of supporting right-wing coups would have beeb signaled by prompt formal State Dept. recognition that a military coup had taken place, followed quickly by actual aid cutoffs and high-level visa retractions.

When that didn't happen within the first two weeks, it should have been clear that nothing had really changed but the desire to have it both ways (which explained the token, too-late gestures that continued into October).

It was our own hopes and reluctance to stop giving the benefit of the doubt that blurred our vision. In the end, stringing us along over such a long period did a great deal more damage to the administration's image among friends of actual democracy than they may have intended or realized.

But it's their m.o. in everything.