Monday, July 27, 2009

The Success of No

Lindsay points out that the Honduran coup leaders seem to be getting off on all the attention they are receiving and how they are facing down the United States, Europe, Venezuela, the OAS, and the UN.

No doubt this is true. David Rothkopf, who she links to, suggests they have learned petulance from Kim-Jong Il.

I think the Honduran coup leaders have learned broader lessons, as have a lot of politicians around the world in recent years. If you just say no, what is anyone going to do about it. David Vitter and Mark Sanford can have ridiculous sexual exploits but they just don't resign. Roland Burris can basically buy a Senate seat but he's serving out his term, hell or high water. Iran and North Korea basically give the finger to the international community. Is the U.S. going to invade Iran to protect election rights? No. Is the South Carolina legislature going to rally enough votes to get rid of Sanford? No. Is the Senate going to censor Vitter or Burris? Of course not. And is anyone really going to do anything to reinstate Zelaya to power in Honduras? Hell no.

Particularly on the international scene, I'm not sure there's anything that the world really can do about these problems. Certainly invasions aren't going to work. But if a nation has leadership that doesn't really care about the international community or about how sanctions will affect their poor, they can pretty much do whatever they want.

Eliot Spitzer's greatest error may have been resigning. What if he just said no? It's a bit of a different situation because it's New York and the media coverage is too intense. But maybe he could have survived.