Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So Much for the Carter Comparisons

Back in the 70's, Pres. Carter drew criticism for undercutting "friendly" Latin American dictators like Chile's Pinochet and Nicaragua's Somoza. He earned even more criticism for transferring control of the Panama Canal to Panama. Taken all in all, I don't believe the criticism was justified. I think the United States should promote democracy. Sometimes this means making common cause with dictators (see e.g. Stalin, WW2) but U.S. support for Pinochet and Somoza had been pretty egregious. Keeping them in power did nothing for U.S. influence in the region. Ortega and the Sandanistas hurt Nicaragua far worse than they hurt the U.S. Also, transferring control of the Canal helped defuse charges of Yanqui imperialism in that country and in the broader region. In my opinion, Carter's Latin American policy was a net good.

Now comes Pres. Obama, who agrees with Venezuela's Chavez and Cuba's Castro that Zelaya must be reinstated as Honduran President, even though Zelaya was clearly maneuvering to install himself as dictator-for-life.

I never thought I'd want Pres. Obama to be more like Pres. Carter, but here's an instance where I do.

(h/t Insta and Fausta)