In Iran, there was a sham election. Despite record turnout, the results were announced about four hours after polls closed. Iran has no machine ballots nor exit polling. As such, these results would have had to have been hand counted. Even though everyone expected a very close election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was announced to have won overwhelmingly.
Then, supporters of the opponent, Al Mousavi, took to the streets in mass protests. The protests were eventually put down, often violently. The opposition candidate doesn't appear to be free to move. Many protestors have been beaten, jailed, and even murdered. Meanwhile, the ruling elites have declared the election valid and call this the final word.
Here, President Obama has been very careful with his words. He has insisted that he doesn't want to meddle. His language has been very even handed. He once pronounced that there was little difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. He has repeatedly referred to the election and its aftermath and "internal Iranian matter".
Meanwhile, in Honduras, the President, Manuel Zelaya, was attempting to run for office one more time despite being at the end of his final term. He called for a national referendum to put it to the voters. Yet, according to the Supreme Court of Honduras, this move is unConstitutional. They declared as such. Despite the ruling of the Supreme Court, Zelaya went ahead with the referendum. When the military refused to set up balloting stations, he fired most of the heads of the military.
When Zelaya insisted on moving ahead with the referendum despite the ruling of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant. The military followed through on their order. Then, the Congress declared that Zelaya was no longer the President and installed a new one, Roberto Micheletti.
Now, some in the conservative media have already taken to siding with the Congress and the Supreme Court. I'm more skeptical. Often in cases like this, there are no good guys. There are only different sorts of bad guys all vying for power.
That said. If President Obama felt that he shouldn't meddle in Iran, he certainly shouldn't be meddling here. The last thing anyone needs is for the world to think that this is being orchestrated by the U.S. Yet, not only was he meddling, but they've been meddling for weeks.
The Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya, said senior U.S. officials. Washington's ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, sought to facilitate a dialogue between the president's office, the Honduran parliament and the military.
The efforts accelerated over the weekend, as Washington grew increasingly alarmed. "The players decided, in the end, not to listen to our message," said one U.S. official involved in the diplomacy. On Sunday, the U.S. embassy here tried repeatedly to contact the Honduran military directly, but was rebuffed. Washington called the removal of President Zelaya a coup and said it wouldn't recognize any other leader.
Furthermore, the statements coming out of the White House regarding Honduras are significantly less equivocating.
We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue.
I am having an awful lot of trouble squaring these two situations without becoming cynical and frankly frightened by our foreign policy. In Iran, there was a popular and peaceful uprising that demanded fair and honest elections and an end to tyranny. In Honduras, the President ignored the Supreme Court and moved forward with a referendum that very Supreme Court deemed un Constitutional. As such, both the Supreme Court and the Congress acted in conjunction with each other. The president saw the situation in Iran as one he needed to maintain a passive and even handed approach to. Meanwhile, in Honduras, he sided with the President, and he meddled both in words and deeds. It's even more disturbing when you add that Zelaya is a leftist alligned with Hugo Chavez. Exactly, which side is our president on?