American Elephants

Obama Confuses His Idea of “Democratically Elected” With Their Constitution. by The Elephant's Child
July 9, 2009, 1:16 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Latin America | Tags: ,

President Obama seems to have an unusual knack for getting the big foreign policy things wrong. Does his staff do a poor job of briefing him? Does he make up his mind too quickly before he has all the facts, or does he think the facts unnecessary? Is he too unfamiliar with history to make good judgments?

His response to the situation in Honduras is a case in point. He quickly said:

America cannot and should not seek to impose any system of government on any other country, nor would we presume to choose which party or individual should run a country…And we haven’t always done what we should have on that front.  Even as we meet here today, America supports now the restoration of the democratically elected president of Honduras, even though he has strongly opposed American policies.

Arturo Valenzuela, Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of State, falsely claims that it was an illegal “coup” for Honduras to remove its corrupt would-be dictator, President Mel Zelaya,  even though Honduran courts said it was perfectly legal.  Obama has sided with Venezuelan dictator Chavez and Cuban dictator Castro in demanding that Zelaya be reinstated.

The Honduran president forfeited his right to the office under Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution, which bans presidents from holding office if they even propose to alter the constitutional term limits for presidents, according to Hans Bader, senior counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  The Honduran military, acting under the orders of the Honduran Supreme Court, expressly had the right to remove the president under Article 272 of the Honduran Constitution.

What Obama really seems to mean is that presidents, once elected, have a complete right to rule their subjects, to ignore their country’s constitution, as Zelaya did, without being subject to removal.   “It sounds,” Mr Bader said,” like the ‘divine right’ to rule.”

I’m not at all sure that Americans care to have their president lining up with communist thugs like Castro and Chavez. Nor, I suspect, do they care much for Obama’s notion that a president’s job is to “rule.” The idea here is to “serve.”

Central and South American countries are a little more sensitive than we are, to presidents who attempt to turn an election into a mandate for permanent control, and their constitutions understandably reflect that prejudice.


To Meddle or Not to Meddle, That Is The Question. Or Is It? by The Elephant's Child
June 30, 2009, 9:21 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Latin America, Middle East | Tags: , ,


White House sources have said that President Obama just isn’t interested in foreign policy.  People who know him well say that he has never really had any interest in history.  It shows.

Democrats do have trouble recognizing who our friends are and who are the bad guys.  Jimmy Carter was astounded when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and still can’t get over his love affair with Hamas.  All sorts of Democrats were sure that Ho Chi Minh was the good guy, and a number even went to N. Vietnam to visit.  Castro is idolized for his communist paradise with its 15,000 imprisoned enemies of the state.  You have seen the tee shirts and posters featuring that bloody killer Ché Guevara.

Two weeks ago, President Obama refused to “meddle” in a totalitarian country where unarmed, peaceful students demonstrating in the streets were being beaten and shot for opposing the election that they believed to be fraudulent.  He didn’t want to take sides.  Now he’s eager to “meddle” in the situation in Honduras.  And goodness, is he meddling!  National Review’s Andy McCarthy says:

Now that the president has decided it’s okay to meddle in Honduras (where they are fighting to preserve their democracy against the Chávez-style thug who Obama wants to re-install) but not Iran (where thousands of Iranians who seek democracy are being killed, maimed and jailed by a regime which has been at war with the United States for 30 years), the president’s tack is to say that Honduras’s action in removing Zelaya is “not legal.”

What on earth makes Obama think he knows better about what is legal under the law of Honduras than the Supreme Court of Honduras and the law-writing legislature of Honduras? The Honduran military acted after Zelaya defied an order by that nation’s highest court which pronounced his coup attempt illegal; he has been replaced under a Honduran legal process by that nation’s Congress, which essentially impeached him and democratically voted in a successor. That sounds pretty legal to me. I am the first to admit I am not an expert in Honduran law, but I’d bet the Honduran Supreme Court has a better grasp on it than President Obama. On the issue of what is legal in Honduras, as between Hugo Chávez and the Honduran Supreme Court, our president has decided to go with Chávez.

Secondly, as IBD notes, the Obama administration is now “threatening to halt its $200 million in U.S. aid, immigration accords and a free-trade treaty if it doesn’t put the criminal Zelaya back into office.” Can someone explain to me how it is that Obama is willingly giving $900M to Hamastan (i.e., the jihadist-controlled Gaza strip) but would pull back a comparative pittance of aid in order to penalize a poor country in our own hemisphere for trying to preserve its democracy against a would-be left-wing dictator?

The Obama administration is about to release their plan for meddling in the “peace process” between Israel and Hamas-controlled Palestine.  He is not impressed that Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East, but wants to bully, arm-twist and demand that Israel agree to his proposals.  Obama seem to be interested in a feather in his cap rather than peace on the ground.  His lack of knowledge about the history of Israel, as demonstrated in his Cairo speech, leads him to the false conclusion that if Israel just gives up more land, more security, and more settlements then the Arabs will make peace, for all they want is their own state.

Unfortunately the Palestinians have already turned that one down. Every one of the Islamist Mullahs’ rallies is led with cries of Death to Israel, and Death to America.  It would seem sensible to assume that they mean it.

Obama seems to have a gift for picking the wrong side.

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