On Honduras, or, Swine Flew

Well, it’s happened.  I’m in complete agreement with the WSJ’s take on events in Honduras:

This is a moment when the U.S. ought to be on the side of the rule of law, which the Honduran court and Congress upheld. If Washington does not reverse course, it will be one more act of appeasement toward an ambitious and increasingly dangerous dictator.

While I definitely seem to be losing this argument, there are an increasing number of folks from both liberal and Republican sides of the aisle (note: leftists not included in the blanket grouping “liberal”) who are making the same arguement: the Honduran military acted on the authority of the democratically elected Honduran congress to uphold the Honduran constitution and rule of law.  As Slate puts it:

In virtually every other country in the world, Zelaya would have been removed from office. But, peculiarly, the Honduran Constitution does not include an impeachment procedure — Congress is entitled to name a new president only in the absence of the current one. So, rather than bringing Zelaya before a judge to be tried for his criminal misbehavior, the army rousted him out of bed and flew him off to Costa Rica in his pajamas. The legislature then voted to replace him with Roberto Micheletti, the head of Congress, who was next in the line of succession.

There is no doubt that this last move should not be allowed to stand. But the international community’s single-minded insistence that Zelaya be reinstated as soon as possible — ignoring his own campaign to undermine constitutional order — is likely to backfire. Zelaya’s behavior has left him every bit as isolated within his country as Micheletti is outside of it. The entire Honduran political establishment, including virtually every member of Congress, the courts, the military, and the business community, is dead-set against his return. And while the opinion of the population as a whole is tougher to measure — no one has taken a poll in the last week — the deck seems stacked against him. His approval rating was a mere 30 percent even before this episode began, and the demonstrations against him have been larger and more numerous than those in favor (although a strong military presence has surely caused many Zelaya supporters to stay home).

The region’s leaders, who seem blind to these realities, have not budged from their campaign to shove Zelaya back down Honduras’ throat. In fact, José Miguel Insulza, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States, along with the left-leaning presidents of Ecuador and Argentina, has volunteered to personally accompany Zelaya on his return to Honduras, as a “diplomatic shield” against his (entirely legitimate) arrest.

The President’s got the wrong idea on this one.  He needs to find a way to backtrack on his condemnation of the coup – and fast.

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