Remember when I expressed my regret that my only sources of information on what’s happening in Honduras (or anywhere else in Latin America, for that matter) were columnists with axes to grind?
Well, there was a fairly complete update on the situation on the WSJ’s news pages today, which I appreciated. For instance, I learned for the first time that the military had forced ex-President (or is he really “ex-“?; that’s sort of what the argument’s about) Manuel Zelaya was forced to leave the country “in his pajamas.” Not that that’s important; I just enjoyed learning it.
More to the point, I thought I got a better appreciation of the Obama administration’s position on the situation, in this paragraph:
Resolving the crisis would be welcome not only in Central America but in Washington, too. The U.S. has put pressure on the interim government to allow the democratically elected Mr. Zelaya to return, even though the leftist is a fierce critic of Washington and a close ally of Venezuela’s populist Hugo Chávez.
That fact, of course, is what Jim DeMint and other conservative critics can’t get over — the fact that the administration is siding with this rather obnoxious ally of someone who is so inimical and destructive toward our national interests. But in that paragraph, I could sort of appreciate that we were trying to be fair and impartial, backing the guy even though he hangs with folks who aren’t our friends.
You know, sort of the way I’ve bent over backward to accommodate and be “fair” and nonjudgmental toward some of the bullies who have run off nice people on my blog. And I wrung my hands and fretted over the implications of cracking down. I hesitated to just ban someone because of past behavior — after all, in this country, doesn’t a person always have the opportunity, nay, the right, to redeem himself?
Oddly, it was one of our more “liberal” Democrats on the blog who, in sidebars, would whisper to me of how I needed to toughen up, stopping being squishy and tolerant, be the king, and cry “off with their heads.” I’m not going to name this person, in the interests of protecting the guilty, but the advice took the form of such admonitions as: “Stop trying to look like a good guy. You are a good guy.”
Which, it occurs to me, may be where Obama’s got it wrong, and DeMint’s got it right, on Honduras. Aside from the fact that the best assessment we have in hand does not support (clearly, anyway) that Zelaya was ousted in an extralegal manner, what principles are we standing up for here? At the very best, it’s a tossup whether Zelaya has a legitimate claim. So in such a situation, why would we not stand up for our nation’s legitimate interests, and more importantly, ideals (which the Chavezistas in the hemisphere scorn), without hesitation or apology?
In short, are we wimping out in the interests of being fair to all concerned, and in the process so blinding ourselves to reality that we don’t even see that it’s NOT fair to all concerned, that this guy actually doesn’t even (necessarily) have any of the rules on his side?