Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Honduras Solution.

There are 2 standoffs in Honduras. The first standoff is between one section of Honduran elites and their now deposed elected president Manuel Zelaya. The second is the political line being walked between the rest of Latin American leaders and the United States. The U.S. is heavily tied down in the middle east and central Asia, after a massive bet was placed by the neoconservative faction of the American political right on using military control to lock down the energy reserves in the Persian Gulf as one of the last great sources of American power (that is to say, control of energy for the rest of the world). As of now, the U.S is suffering from what used to be called imperial overstretch. From a historical standpoint, our power over others is in a state of decline as other powers rise (by definition, "super-power" or power is a relationship between peoples, and by extension, any region that extricates itself in varying degrees from U.S. control is reducing our overall power over them).

The Persian Gulf: Unstable as the region is, the U.S. heavily protects "our resources" under various middle eastern desert states through a proxy system. Clients manage our resources for us, leaders, kings, 99% of the vote dictators, have come and gone while serving U.S. national and corporate power. Oil is the prime resource, which the U.S. uses as leverage against its strategic competitors by using force in "deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global
role." Part of this past weeks news that world powers seek to unpeg oil from the U.S. dollar is sign of the trajectory of our declining ability to control the energy supplies needed for other nations. While I don't see the peg shifting in the short term, the writing is on the wall.

Central Asia: Part of the Condoleezzaliza rice
containment strategy to curb Chinese inroads into energy producing regions in Central Asia is to finance clients in places like the 2 links here describe from an east Asian perspective, the moves taking place in this region.

Japan and South Korea: Outside of the North Korean diplomacy game, Japan and SK have remained loyal clients, staking their economic fate on exporting to the United States. Clearly though, they took a much more independent path of development, maintaining much more state control over their economies, developing much more quickly than their disorganized counterparts in the global south.

European Union:
Preventing a rival superpower has been an objective of U.S. power since the early 1990s. As the cold war deterance faded, the U.S. accelerated violent attacks on defenseless targets, as the Soviets could be ignored, and the U.S. could flex its muscles. (Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Kosovo, etc..), the central lesson was that attacks can occur on targets that were unable to adequately defend themselves. The EU quickly accelerated internal integration with the creation of the common currency. This trajectory of EU integration remains firmly in place in my view, though clearly, there will be ups and downs in the future.

Latin America: The U.S. regards Latin America as our backyard. In NSC-68, George Kennan, in a highly influential policy document notes that the U.S. would use "
harsh measures of repression" to maintain control of those resources. The cold war pretexts would be used to justify the countless dictators which kept each country from voting in ANY popular government (no matter what ideology) which won on a platform of diverting resources away from the U.S. for the benefit of the domestic population. The 20th century in Latin America was a sad one filled with torture, and mass murder traced to Washington's doorstep, and rationalized away with fear mongering corporate propaganda used to justify our anti-democratic interventions such as this:

By the turn of the 21st century, A series of elected governments has been swept into power in Latin America encouraging integration within the region on a scale never before seen. With integration occurring, the old guard of Latin American elites in Honduras (this applies to Latin American elites in general) wants to ensure its own power with the backing of the United States. But the U.S. is tied down elsewhere, and cannot afford a concerted protest of this type of behavior by the rest of the governments Latin America (especially Brazil and Argentina). To resolve the Honduran Crisis, Brazil should attempt to threaten to put a coalition together for a "humanitarian intervention" in Honduras. Picking up an alliance of Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and at the last minute Venezuela would be the wisest course of action. By threatening multi-lateral invasion, the U.S. hand will be forced by virtue of the fact that if it wishes to slow the decline of its influence, it will have to force the Honduran elite's hand. Otherwise, the situation will at best become like Haiti following the 91 coup--when Clinton condemned the coup, but walked the line long enough to allow the back channel support of the right wing to arm the Haitian thugs and allow them to massacre, rape, and torture the Lavalas supporters for years. By the time Aristide was returned to power, the base of his support was destroyed. In Honduras, the base for Zelaya is not even close to the base of support Aristide had from Lavalas (the popular coalition/party that backed the early aristide period) in the early 90s. However the play, if Brazil and Argentina choose to act on it, will certainly have the intended effect. The U.S. will either act to maintain its status as the alpha dog, or it will allow a broad Latin American coalition to invade and place peacekeepers on the ground. It is likely that tepid EU support may be offered if Bolivia and Venezuela are not on board at least at first.

Ultimately, a considered goal should be to get on the road to an EU Style of integration which will once again, force the U.S. to take a much more responsible lead or else be left in the unilateral cold.

No comments:

Post a Comment