Transnational Transgressions
In Kosovo and Honduras, Obama-ite foreign policy gave Putin effective precedent.

Russian troops near Perevalnoye in Crimea.


Andrew C. McCarthy

Sure, it was farce . . . but not farce without precedent. In 2009, Honduras’s socialist president sparked street protests when he lawlessly attempted to rewrite the country’s constitution in order to remain in power. He was arrested, deposed, and deported, with the overwhelming endorsement of the Honduran congress and supreme court, fully consistent with Honduran law. Except that the international Left wanted Zelaya kept in place, so President Obama inserted himself into Honduras’s internal affairs.

Obama and Secretary of State Clinton looked the other way at Zelaya’s incitements, condemned his removal as a “coup,” and demanded that he be restored to power out of respect for “democratic elections” (never you mind the rigorous democratic processes that ousted him). As the Wall Street Journal noted at the time, the Obama administration backed the rhetoric with brass knuckles, cutting off aid, threatening to seize Honduran assets, pulling visas from Honduran officials, and threatening not to recognize future Honduran elections.

Putin’s thoroughly corrupt puppet Yanukovych might not pass the laugh test of legitimacy, but thanks to American foreign policy, that test does not necessarily apply. Putin used the “coup” to stir up anti-Western propaganda in Ukraine’s Russian strongholds, then used the resulting unrest as a pretext to invade and annex Crimea . . . so far.

Ukraine might have thought about defending its sovereign territory, but it is without sabers even to rattle. The country surrendered its prodigious nuclear arsenal in reliance on an unenforceable, unratified security guarantee from Clinton. Not to be outdone, Senator Obama and the GOP’s foreign-policy clerisy later expanded that surrender into the wholesale destruction of Ukraine’s weapons stockpiles — on the theory that, as Obama explained it, a country’s abandoning its weapons makes for a safer country and a safer world.

In successful enterprises, the daft are rooted out and sidelined. In the United States, we put them in charge of foreign policy — for life.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.