Sunday, September 27, 2009

Socialist or conservative

From the September 20th issue of the English newspaper the telegraph, a quote from Obama: “"I can't tell you how many foreign leaders, who are heads of centre-right governments, say to me 'I don't understand why people would call you socialist, in my country you would be considered a conservative'," Mr Obama told CNN.” Of course, consider the source. Obama lies constantly, or so Jack Kelly would (likely) maintain.

Interestingly, for today’s column, Kelly chose not to write about the G20 or the revelation that Iran is building a facility that might make nuclear weapons. Instead Kelly decides to comment on Obama’s support of Manuel Zelaya, who Kelly says the administration “wants to install as president of Honduras over the objections of the overwhelming majority of its people”.

Before examining that statement, lets look at the history of Zelaya. He was elected President in 2005, so I guess the overwhelming majority did not object to him at the time. He apparently decided he wanted to serve another term, but apparently Honduran law or the constitution allow Presidents to serve only one term. Zelaya apparently petitioned the Honduran Congress to hold a referendum to change the law/constitution, the Congress refused and Zelaya apparently had some ballots printed up anyway. If all that is true, and I am wiling to take Kelly’s word for it until/unless I read otherwise (from a reputable source), then Zelaya is an idiot. However, assuming Kelly’s argument that the people don’t support Zelaya is also true, then a referendum would be harmless, and in fact provide support for the system. Now, I will say I don’t know how constitutional change is supposed to work in Honduras, so what Zelaya is trying to do might be underminig the system.

In any event, what happened next is the real issue. The Attorney General petitions the Supreme Court to issue an arrest warrant for Zelaya, which they do, and the President is sent into exile by the army. Now, if Zelaya is not supported by the people (as Kelly says), then why bother? Kelly would have preferred Zelaya be imprisoned and put on trial, but even then, why bother? But from the Obama administration’s point of view, taking these steps is a pretty serious shortcut of political process. I can see the point of issuing sanctions (or having Congress vote on them) and insisting Zelaya be reinstated. If we are serious about democracy, we can’t just support democratically elected leaders we like.

Now, I write all this not knowing the detail of situation in Honduras. Most of what I am writing is based on what Kelly wrote. I am willing to admit that if what Kelly wrote is all the detail of the situation for Zelaya, then Zelaya does sound like an idiot. Still our reaction to a Democratically elected leader being deposed is not surprising. Especially since Kelly makes it sound like if the Honduran opposition to Zelaya had waited a couple of months it would have all been over anyway.

As I said above, the fact that Kelly wrote about this and not Iran or the G20 speaks volumes about Kelly’s attitude towards Obama. Kelly makes a relatively incoherent attack on a minor foreign policy situation while ignoring what is happening in Iran with nuclear weapons and what is happening on the world economic stage. Kelly simply wants to find any mistake, no matter how far fetched, he can pin on Obama. The PG needs to think about that.

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