Monday, July 20, 2009

“The U.S. Steers Left on Honduras”

Who’s surprised by that WSJ headline?

The story ends with an example of what the Obama administration calls “smart diplomacy:”

Mr. Chávez understands that Mr. Zelaya's star is fading, which is why he called Tom Shannon, the State Department's assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere at home at 11:15 p.m on July 9.

Mr. Shannon told me that Mr. Chávez "again made the case for the unconditional return of Mr. Zelaya, though he did so in a less bombastic manner than he has in the past."

Mr. Shannon says that in response he "suggested to him that Venezuela and its [allies] address the fear factor by calling for free and fair elections and a peaceful transition to a new government." That, Mr. Shannon, says, "hasn't happened."

Nor is it likely to. Yet the U.S. continues exerting enormous pressure for the return of Mr. Zelaya. If it prevails, it is unlikely that Mr. Zelaya's mobs or Mr. Chávez will suddenly be tamed.