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Grijalva letter to Obama on Honduran elections

In a letter to President Obama on November 25, Rep. Grijalva urged reconsideration of U.S. support for elections in Honduras under the coup regime.

Upcoming Exit Ramp? What Was Wrong With This One?

Recent press reports suggest that President Obama is likely to try to sugarcoat his announcement next week of a major military escalation in Afghanistan with talk of "exit ramps": opportunities in the future to evaluate and possibly reduce the U.S. military commitment. That's supposed to make opponents of military escalation feel better, the media suggests. The New York Times reports:

The troops will be dispatched in phases, and Mr. Obama is likely to declare that he will review the deployment next year, to evaluate its progress.

"That gives him the flexibility to tell the Democrats that his commitment is limited," the Times says.

But it's hard to see why this should be at all reassuring. After all, we just had such an evaluation, which, despite the widespread view that the present policy has failed, resulted in the policy choice of sending 50% more troops that the President is about to announce. Why should we expect the next evaluation by the same actors to be substantially different from the one that just took place, if the data is the same?

Indeed, just as the President plans to assure us that we don't have an open-ended commitment, so he plans to reassure the governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and our European allies that we do, in fact, have an open-ended commitment. Which President Obama should be believed?

Supposedly, we have to tell Pakistan that we are not leaving because if they think that we are leaving, they will hedge their bets and back and protect their ally Mullah Omar, in order to protect their influence and what they perceive to be their national interests in Afghansitan.

Mark Weisbrot: Valenzuela Speech Suggests U.S. Will Blame Zelaya

Commenting on Arturo Valenzuela's recent speech to the OAS (a link to the speech follows Mark's comment), Mark Weisbrot writes:

Yesterday, President Obama's new top State Department official for Latin America, Arturo Valenzuela, delivered a speech about Honduras at the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States. The speech provides some important information about the State Department's strategy going forward. As before, this strategy is oriented toward legitimizing the coup government.

It appears that the State Department is still clinging to the October 30th "accord," and not just the "elections" to legitimize the government. So perhaps they still have hopes of reaching a deal with Zelaya after the election, or they are just pretending that they have such hopes, but one of these two things is the implication in this speech. When Zelaya refuses to be part of the farce, the implication here is that Washington will blame Zelaya for rejecting the implementation of the "accord."  (This of course is despite the fact that Micheletti torpedoed the accord immediately by declaring himself head of the "unity government.") I would think that they Obama administration could also win Republican support for this position, even people like Senator DeMint, thus closing the gap that some of the administration seems to worried about on the domestic front.

Their problem remains that practically no other country in the world is buying their line.

Valenzuela's speech is here.

 

JFP 11/20: Sen. Specter: "We ought not to add troops to Afghanistan"

Just Foreign Policy News
November 20, 2009


[The Just Foreign Policy News may be intermittent in the next few weeks, as the editor will be traveling. The normal schedule will resume on December 7.]

Monday: Call the White House Against Escalation in Afghanistan
There will be a national call-in day to the White House Monday against military esclalation in Afghanistan. The White House Comment Line is 202-456-1111.
http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/11/20-8

Mark Weisbrot: Letter to the Wall Street Journal
Mark Weisbrot gives Jose de Cordoba of the Wall Street Journal a hand by sending him a "translation" of a recent article about Honduras.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/416

Will the National Democratic Institute Back the Coup in Honduras?
The US-funded National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute want to send observers to the Nov. 29 elections in Honduras - a step towards recognizing the elections of the coup regime, which would put the U.S. at odds with most of Latin America. Ask your Represenative to oppose funding for observers of the Nov. 29 election unless President Zelaya is reinstated.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/observers

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy

Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
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Mark Weisbrot: Letter to the Wall Street Journal

Mark Weisbrot sent the following letter to José de Cordoba, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, in response to the article which is posted at the end.

 

List of organizations co-sponsoring national call-in day to the White House, Monday 11/23

United for Peace and Justice
American Friends Service Committee
Peace Action
Just Foreign Policy
CodePink
Voters for Peace
Pax Christi
CommonDreams.org
Historians Against War
Institute for Policy Studies
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Rep. Lee anti-escalation event in Oakland Monday 11/23

Representative Barbara Lee, whose bill HR 3699 would prohibit an increase in US forces deployed to Afghanistan, is having an event on 3699 and an exit strategy for Afghanistan in Oakland Monday, at the Dellums Federal Building, at noon.

The flyer is here.

Please spread this information around to contacts in the Bay area and the California press. Perhaps this event can have some impact on other Members of the California delegation...

Will the National Democratic Institute Support the Coup in Honduras?

A statement put out by Senator Lugar's office this week contained a striking revelation: apparently, the State Department intends to fund election observer missions of the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for the controversial November 29 Honduras election supervised by the coup regime. If the US sends election observers before President Zelaya is restored, it would prepare the ground for recognizing the coup regime and its election as legitimate, putting the U.S. at odds with the rest of the hemisphere. Funding election observers appears to be part of a strategy of legitimizing the June coup against President Zelaya.

Both the IRI and the NDI are funded by Congress through the National Endowment for Democracy.

The International Republican Institute is affiliated with the Republican Party and the National Democratic Institute is affiliated with the Democratic Party. The IRI has a sordid history of anti-democratic actions, like supporting the 2004 coup in Haiti.

The NDI, on the other hand, is at least nominally accountable to the Democratic Party, so its involvement in trying to legitimize elections under the coup regime is quite surprising. Democratic leaders in Congress, like Senator Kerry and Representative Berman, have strongly opposed the coup. Congressional Democrats have urged President Obama not to recognize elections under the coup regime.

JFP 11/19: National Democratic Institute Supporting Coup in Honduras?

Just Foreign Policy News
November 19, 2009


Will the National Democratic Institute Back the Coup in Honduras?
Senator Lugar's office suggests that the US-funded National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute will be sending observers to the Nov. 29 elections in Honduras - a step towards recognizing the elections of the coup regime, which would put the U.S. at odds with most of Latin America. Ask your Represenative to oppose funding for observers of the Nov. 29 election unless President Zelaya is reinstated.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/observers

For background, see: Mark Weisbrot's commentary on the JFP blog:
Mark Weisbrot on Senator Lugar's Call to Recognize Honduran Election
http://bit.ly/honduras-weisbrot

Monday: Call the White House Against Escalation in Afghanistan
There will be a national call-in day to the White House Monday against military esclalation in Afghanistan.

Prepare for Local Reaction to the President's Escalation Speech
If President Obama announces he is sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, groups around the country will hold events to coincide with the President's speech.
Post a local event:
http://bit.ly/noescalation-event-post
Sample Press Release:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/409

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy

Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.

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Mark Weisbrot on Senator Lugar's Call to Recognize Honduran Election

Senator Richard Lugar's office has issued a statement supporting recognition of the Honduran elections on November 29. Just Foreign Policy President Mark Weisbrot comments:

This is not surprising, Lugar has been with his party leadership on this all along, including his letter in July that got the State Department to write their response that appeared to blame Zelaya for the coup. Honduras has become a real cause for the Republican party leadership, which sees it as a strategic battle in their long-term fight against the Latin American left (which for them includes Lula). Although Lugar is of course different from them, for some reason he has joined with them in this battle.

This has to be a disappointment to people who see Lugar as a moderate, since it is tough for a moderate to defend the position that a a group of people can overthrow the elected president, arrest, jail, and beat thousands of people, torture and even kill some people, close down opposition media intermittently throughout the legally designated 3-month electoral campaign period, and then have a valid "election" -- no matter how "clean" it is on election day.

 Lugar's statement will give some lobbyists, pundits, editors, etc. some ammunition to say that not only the wingnuts that hold this position.

The State Department effectively has the same position as Lugar in what it is trying to accomplish, but for now is reluctant to state it unambiguously, so as not to further distance itself from Latin America. So it does help all parties, including the State Department, that want to legitimate the election.