Monday, August 10, 2009

Love means never having to say you're sorry.

And Stephen Harper may need to apologize to us.

My thoughts on the Honduran 'coup' are well known (or they would be if anyone read this blog). My mild disdain for Prime Minister Harper has also been noted. However, this moment could be the breaking point for me.

The statement put out by the 'Three Amigos' read, in part:
We have thoroughly discussed the coup in Honduras and reaffirm our support for the San José Accord and the ongoing OAS effort to seek a peaceful resolution of the political crisis - a resolution which restores democratic governance and the rule of law and respects the rights of all Hondurans.
Needless to say, the San Jose Accord, was nothing to do cartwheels over. I'm not a huge fan of anything that calls for a "truth commission". It just sounds creepy.

Now, I don't put a whole lot of stock in joint statements, as they tend to mean something different to each member who signs on. So here's Stephen with ABC's Jake Tapper:
Tapper: One last question. There has been some criticism about the United States for not doing enough in Honduras to return President Zelaya. Do you have thoughts on that?

Harper: well, as I said in our press conference here, I find this quite hypocritical. I would be quite – if I were an American I would be quite annoyed by that kind of question because the United States has been accused of – so regularly in my lifetime, particularly in our hemisphere – of meddling and interfering in the affairs of others.

Now we have a problem in Honduras and we have some people jumping up and demanding the United States intervene and meddle.

I think the approach taken by the American administration is the correct one. First of all, they’ve articulated the same values that Canada, Mexico and others have articulated and that is we need to see democracy and the rule of law restored in Honduras.

As you know, there’s two sides to that issue. The democratically elected government should be restored and that government should be committed to respecting the constitutional rules of that country.

I think we all agree with that. President Arias of Costa Rica with the Organization of the American States is leading mediated efforts. Canada and Mexico are directly involved in that mediation effort. We have been highly supported by the Untied States in the mediation effort.

The United States views are not secret. It has been pushing to see the same outcomes we’re trying to see and I think this is the appropriate approach for the United States is to be very forceful and very helpful and to work with others to make sure democratic norms are upheld in our hemisphere.
David Mader at Mader Blog thinks that Harper is equivocating a bit, striking a balance (he also feels that the government's initial response was ill-considered... obviously, I agree on that point) and perhaps putting himself in a position to be an "honest broker" - someone who can put a little pressure on other leaders to keep them from imposing the undemocratic Zelaya/Chavez solution on Honduras.

Reading Harper's response, I too found that he was weaseling around a little bit, trying not to truly support Zelaya or the new (constitutional) government - in this scenario, any weaseling is considered a good thing. I hope that David's correct. I hope that Harper is playing at diplomacy but working to support the people of Honduras against this would-be dictator... and I think this might be the case (though my optimism might be a result of whatever faith/hope/optimism I left have in Stephen Harper... hopefully it's not misplaced).

I am, however, not that optimistic. It doesn't surprise me to think that people who crave power might sympathize with others who crave power, no matter how repugnant they may be.

I think it's time to start really listening to Michael Ignatieff.


  1. Never thought I'd see the day when you started saying complementary things about a Grit, much less a Grit who considers himself a golden boy, despite his many years out of the country, and statements that the only thing he missed about Canada was Algonquin Park. Harper must really be rubbing you the wrong way. :)

  2. It's true; I hate Algonquin Park.

    I've actually been open to Ignatieff for quite a while (I enjoyed his work back when he was writing columns for National Post). He hasn't done a whole lot to impress me as leader so far, but maybe he'll step up his game.

    Is it a sad commentary on democracy when the line, "I think it's time to start really listening to..." is considered a compliment to a politician? Or was I erroneously inferring a typo?