Applying the Lessons of Iran to the Honduran Crisis
How Obama can deal with the great presidential dispute in six easy steps.
September 21, 2009 - 12:30 am
On September 16, Greta Van Susteren interviewed Honduran President Robert Micheletti about the Obama administration’s attempt to force the return of former President Manuel Zelaya to office (supposedly just to serve the few remaining months in his term):
Van Susteren: Have you ever met President Obama or Secretary Clinton?
Micheletti: No, no, no. I admire them, but never in my life. One day I had a telephone call from Mrs. Clinton.
Van Susteren: What did she have to say?
Micheletti: She asked me to find a way to return Mr. Zelaya.
Van Susteren: What did you say?
Things are obviously at an impasse with Honduras, with the point of no return — elections in which the Honduran people will elect a new president — looming in November. There is an obvious solution to the Honduran crisis, one the Obama administration is now employing with respect to Iran: talks!
The real question, however, is how to get them started, since both sides are so committed to their respective positions. A review of the Obama administration’s use of smart power with respect to Iran offers six lessons that can be duplicated in Honduras.
1. Start calling Honduras by its full name. According to Wikipedia, it’s “República de Honduras, pronounced ‘republika de on-duras.’” We should acknowledge that Honduras, as its name indicates, is a republic, with a constitution and a supreme court to enforce it — it’s not as if it were some theocratic dictatorship with a president put in office as a result of a rigged election.
2. Send a video to the Republic of Honduras. In the video, the president should extend to the people of Honduras our warm wishes and congratulations on their 188 years of independence. Sure, there’s sadness and worry about the unfortunate attempt by their former president to violate Section 239 of their constitution, but perhaps that is an issue for the Honduran supreme court and Honduran congress, rather than us. It certainly should not stand in the way of talks.