Looking for an out in Honduras

Only belatedly is the old media recognizing the Honduras situation as an important story, and although they are increasingly covering it, many persist in repeating the canard that former President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a coup. (In fact, President Zelaya, in effect, removed himself by violating the Honduran Constitution, which explicitly states that such violation automatically removes him from office.)

The non-Marxist diplomatic world is also confused by President Barack Obama’s policy in Honduras, a policy calling for Mr. Zelaya’s illegal restoration to office, and threatens not to recognize the free Nov. 29 elections called for by the Honduran interim government to resolve the crisis. This crisis seems to be being perpetuated by an Old Stalinist Boys Club that includes Messers Chavez (Venezuela), Castro (Cuba), Ortega (Nicaragua) and Morales (Bolivia), joined by fellow travelers Lula (Brazil) and bureaucrats at the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations.

So what is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doing hanging out with these boys?

As a popular senator from the state of New York, she was strongly pro-democracy and pro-Israel, and her background during and before that indicated her familiarity with the niceties and complexities of international diplomacy.

Now she has become the spokeswoman and a leader of a foreign policy perceived (in Israel and among a large number of Americans) as tilting against our ally Israel by forcing the Jewish state to act against its own self-interest, perceived by Iran as all talk and no action, appeasing the Chinese communist regime by not meeting with the Dalai Lama and supporting a would-be Marxist dictator in Honduras over a freely to-be-elected new president.

Lanny Davis, who served as President Bill Clinton’s special counsel from 1996 to 1998, and now represents the Honduran branch of the Latin American Business Council, has suggested a workable compromise. In that proposal, Mr. Zelaya would “resign” as president or “renounce” his right to be restored to power.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti would resign as president after the Nov. 29 election. A new and freely elected president of Honduras would take office on Jan. 26 or before.

Details of whether Mr. Zelaya could be tried for corruption during his term could be worked out by the opposing sides. Mr. Zelaya’s representatives met with Mr. Micheletti’s representatives before the past weekend, and a tentative agreement was reportedly reached.

Once again, however, Mr. Zelaya refused even a face-saving deal, and gave the legal government 48 hours to cave. But as Mr. Davis suggests, his vainglorious posturing should give the Obama administration (including Mrs. Clinton) a graceful excuse to stop supporting the ousted would-be dictator, and extricate themselves from a diplomatic folly of their own making.

Barry Casselman writes about national and international affairs for the Preludium News Service.

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