Feb 212010
Authors: Ian Bezek

America’s foreign policy, like so many things, has failed to adequately change with the election of President Obama. It continues to plod along in a sad status quo, promoting terrible regimes, creating enemies and causing mounting numbers of dead across the world.

Of course, no party holds a monopoly on bad foreign policy. President Bush concentrated his evils in the Middle East, for example, while Obama has managed to fail in more diverse places.

I figured that the election of anyone, and I do mean anyone, after Bush would improve things.

Not so fast. Not only have our despicable Middle Eastern wars not ended, but we’re increasingly doing ill elsewhere as well, like Latin America, for example.
It’s a well-known fact that our Latin American foreign policy has been rotten for a long time, certainly since 1823 heralded the arrival of the harebrained Monroe Doctrine.

There’s a long-standing bipartisan tradition of both our esteemed political parties screwing Central and South America for political gain. Sadly, what has changed is that Americans have become ambivalent about the terror our government has created to the south of us.

As late as the 1980s, Americans still got upset when we caused harm to our southern neighbors. Reagan’s supporting of the right-wing dictatorship in El Salvador along with the Latin American Iran-Contra scandal.

In both cases, Reagan used American funds and influence to help support evil and tyrannical forces to support right-wing nut jobs in Central America. Americans, particularly students, became enraged at these inhumane policies and protested.

But now the U.S., led by our esteemed Nobel Peace Prize-winning president, is busy supporting a coup in Honduras, a government that kills protestors (Peru) and generally bad and unpopular governments.

Our actions in Honduras are particularly distasteful. On June 28, the President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was illegally removed from power in a coup d’etat. At first, the entire world condemned the coup and said the new government was illegitimate.

The only people who supported the new government were the coup leaders and a small group of Republicans in America (probably the same who cheered Pat Robertson’s call to assassinate Hugo Chávez.)

The saner State Department and President Obama originally rejected the coup as illegitimate. The usurping new government claimed it was saving the Constitution of Honduras, though upon taking office, the new president, Roberto Michelleti, suspended a large chunk of the Constitution it was “saving.”

The coup’s leaders eventually called new elections, though they refused to let the proper president of the country, President Zelaya run for the office.

This would be the equivalent of the religious right launching a coup in America and offering up Pat Robertson, Sarah Palin and Karl Rove as candidates in a fair election. The coup leaders set up a situation where they were sure to win no matter which candidate won in a move termed by opponents as election laundering.

After the fake election, which had no international observers and featured fishy, at best, counting of ballots, America declared a victory for democracy and supported the unconstitutional new government.

This, despite the fact that less than 20 percent of Hondurans supported the coup, and also that the vast majority of the Spanish-speaking world (Honduras’ neighbors) including Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Spain (and Brazil) condemned the election.

Bolivia spoke for most of the world when its ambassador stated (translated from the original Spanish), “Recognizing a government like this means recognizing governments that were formed by coup plotters.”

Now, why would the U.S. flip-flop and support a coup it originally denounced? Probably because the new illegal government of Honduras is more pro-capitalism while the deposed Zelaya dared to be of the left wing.

The fact that English-language coverage of the Latin American world sucks also plays a role. The U.S., according to the Washington Post, actively censors bad news out of U.S. allies.

A report from the Post last year stated, “U.S. embassies are discouraging or suppressing negative reports to Washington about U.S. allies, sometimes depriving officials of information they need to make good policy decisions, current and former diplomats say.”

When the U.S. generally ignores the rest of the world and then censors the limited news we do get, is it a surprise that we end up supporting coups and dictatorial governments? It’s too bad we students don’t even protest the evil our government creates anymore.

To see a slideshow of the coup our government supported, please visit http://incakolanews.blogspot.com/2009/06/honduras-photoshow.html

Editorials Editor Ian Bezek is a senior economics major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:15 pm

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