Anyone who has played, watched, or coached a Little League game has seen players just learning the game make some basic mistakes. The players are forgiven, of course, because they are still learning under the tutelage of their coaches. Kids run the wrong direction, forget to throw the ball to first base, or even end up on the wrong side of the field. It’s understandable, really, that in the confusion of one team leaving the field and another team taking the field, that someone can end up in the wrong dugout. This is usually remedied quickly when the player realizes he doesn’t recognize the dugout or the kids standing around him and he’ll bolt across the field as the opposing team heckles and parents in the stand chuckle quietly.
So, what do you do with an otherwise intelligent adult with no teacher or coach who ends up on the wrong side and refuses to admit it? This is exactly what has happened to Barack Obama in regards to the Honduras “coup”. First off, it was not a coup. A coup is a calculated breaking of the law by powers that want to take control. It’s usually followed by a new leader explaining why it was necessary and how the law of the land will change under the new leadership. Traditionally, it’s also been followed by that leader being leader for an indefinite period of time.
In Honduras, it was the government itself that ordered the army to arrest and expel President Zelaya because he was breaking the law and threatening to subvert that country’s constitution. The new leader sworn in to replace Zelaya was the next in line according to their constitution. He is a civilian and has promised to hold elections in November as usual. The army did not install their own leader. The army did not change the law of the land. The army was enforcing the law of the land as ordered by the Supreme Court of Honduras.
Apparently, President Obama has not had this thirty second summary communicated to him and he, almost immediately, condemned these actions and insisted that Zelaya be reinstated. The American public, like parents in the Little League stands, watched the leader of their team (the leader of the free world) running to the wrong side. Obama finds himself making the same demands of Honduras as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, both anti-American dictators of their countries. He stands shoulder-to-shoulder with thugs and opposes the rule of law in a democracy.
This Washington Times editorial summarizes the situation well and comes to this conclusion:
Whatever the outcome of the crisis in Honduras, Mr. Obama has failed another key test of international leadership. The United States is in an increasingly perilous position in Latin America and needs solid allies to stem the anti-American tide being led by Venezuela. Mr. Obama should think twice before rushing to stand beside the likes of dictators such as Mr. Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. They support Mr. Zelaya because he is a fellow traveler, a socialist in good standing, a member of their anti-gringo alliance. There’s no reason for America to support him.
In Little League, a coach or parent will encourage the child and suggest a correction for the mistake. Then, hopefully, the child will learn the lesson and not make the same mistake again. Of course, Little League games don’t quite carry the weight of international politics. There are no coaches or parents that have the President’s ear. There are too few critical press outlets that will challenge his decisions and postulate alternatives. So, the public sits in the stands and waits to see what he’ll do next.
Will Mr. Obama realize that he’s on the wrong side and run for the other dugout? Or, not wanting to admit his error, will he defiantly stay on the wrong side only to increase the hidden laughter of his newfound teammates? Or, worst of all, will he remain where he is because he knows exactly what he’s saying and approves? None of these choices present a very impressive picture of this President learning the basic rules of the game.
Update: This article in The Christian Science Monitor is from a citizen of Honduras and only reinforces what we already know. It also has the effect of making President Obama look even more foolish. He starts:
Sometimes, the whole world prefers a lie to the truth. The White House, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and much of the media have condemned the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya this past weekend as a coup d’état.
That is nonsense.
And, he concludes with a passion I love hearing:
Don’t believe the coup myth. The Honduran military acted entirely within the bounds of the Constitution. The military gained nothing but the respect of the nation by its actions.
I am extremely proud of my compatriots. Finally, we have decided to stand up and become a country of laws, not men. From now on, here in Honduras, no one will be above the law.