September 29th, 2009

Totten on Honduras and US sanctions

Michael Totten makes a rare detour from Middle Eastern venues to write an insightful piece about US sanctions on Honduras. Totten points out what the Obama administration seems not to have even considered—the consequences of its threats:

Sanctions are supposed to be temporary. Targeted countries are always told what they can do to restore the status quo ante. Iran, for instance, can dismantle its nuclear-weapons program. Syria can cease and desist its support for Hamas and Hezbollah. Saddam Hussein, while he still ruled Iraq, had the option of admitting weapons inspectors.

Honduras, though, will have no way out if the interim government doesn’t return Zelaya to power before his term ends in January. Because the Honduran constitution prohibits him and every other president from serving more than one term, it won’t be legally possible for Honduras to do what’s demanded of it after the end of this year. Unlike Iraq, Iran, and Syria, it will be isolated and trapped under sanctions indefinitely.

Whoops! I can only conclude that Obama and his advisers didn’t think ahead. Or, if they did, they assumed the following:

(1) Honduras would knuckle under to their bullying, and/or (2) a threat is just a threat: empty. If they haven’t kept so many other of their promises, how many people would notice if they didn’t keep this one? At some future date after the election, they’d just pull an Emily Litella, lift the sanctions, and say “never mind”; and/or (3) so what if the sanctions continue indefinitely? Who cares about the people of Honduras and their problems?

5 Responses to “Totten on Honduras and US sanctions”

  1. Steve G Says:

    The way out for Honduras was suggested by a Peter Sellers film (the name escapes me) in which a really small and backward European country, in need of financial aid and watching how well Germany did after WWII with the assistance it received form the U.S., declares war on the U.S. with the intention of quickly surrendering and getting a lot of foreign assistance. Somehow, they get their hands on a nuclear bomb and win the war. Then what?

    Well, I can’t see how Honduras can wait around and be treated so shabbily by the U.S. as one of our “friends. So, I suggest they declare war on the U.S., send a contingent of Honduran marines to Washington, D.C. and have them bring the surrender documents. The problem, as in the Peter Sellers’ movie, is that Obama might surrender and then what? On the brighter side, even if the U.S. doesn’t surrender, as an enemy of the U.S. they will certainly be treated better by Obama.

  2. Steve G Says:

    Now it comes to me. “The Mouse That Roared.”

  3. huxley Says:

    My guess is that it depends on the world community, which insists that Zelaya be returned to power.

    I’m still not clear why the OAS and the EU remain on Zelaya’s side.

  4. Artfldgr Says:

    fallout for bad choices is hitting brazil

    Lula faces criticism in Brazil over Honduras role
    http://www.reuters.com/article/mediaNews/idUSN2917023920090929

  5. Nolanimrod Says:

    Dear Neo,
    Your phrase it will be isolated and trapped under sanctions indefinitely put me in mind of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    I think it was a necessary stab at the heart of the Jim Crow system even if constitutionally suspect, being something in the way of a bill of attainder. And it did its job.

    It was originally to be a temporary fix and one reason for that was the thinking that it was an unprecedented and possibly unconstitutional intrusion into local affairs but that it would do its job and then expire.

    It did its job but it hasn’t expired. Every Voting Rights Act expiration date sees an extension passed by congress. Who could vote against it? Surely only racists.

    So even now if a southern state wishes to move a polling place for some election, regardless of the reason (like Katrina making a school unusable) it must apply to the Department of Justice for clearance.

    Where I was raised they had a law still on the books mandating that any motor vehicle had to be preceded by a guy waving a red lantern.

    My advice to you, Honduras, is to get busy and make very, very certain that you don’t need any help from the U.S (probably good advice for any country right now). Especially as the kind of tyranny you are, constrained by your constitution, trying to avert is just the kind imposed by those so beloved of America’s betters: Castro, Chavez, Putin, and Ahmadinejad.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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