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?