The U.S., in an apparent softening of its support for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, won't impose economic sanctions on Honduras and has yet to decide whether Mr. Zelaya's removal from office constitutes a coup.
Diplomacy's gears grind exceedingly slowly.
A letter from the State Department to Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, states that the U.S. "energetically" opposes Mr. Zelaya's June 28 ouster. But the letter also expresses the harshest criticism yet of Mr. Zelaya's own actions that preceded his removal from office, including trying to change Honduras's constitution to potentially stay in power.
Good crisis management: take the opposition's firepower away by agreeing with them, the slowly backtrack. Nicely done.
With Washington unwilling to take drastic steps such as sanctions to restore Mr. Zelaya to power, it seems increasingly unlikely that the leftist politician will return to his seat, analysts said. Honduras's interim government, backed by much of the country's establishment and middle class, appears unwilling to have Mr. Zelaya back, and Washington seems in no mood to force the issue.
What will Mary Anastasia O'Grady and her ilk think now? They'll find something to gripe about.
"In Honduras, Washington's wavering will be seen as a sign that the government can wait it out until the elections and that the costs they are bearing for international isolation, while considerable, are preferable to the risks of allowing Zelaya to return, even for a limited time and with his authority curtailed," said Michael Shifter at the Inter-American Dialogue, a nonpartisan think tank on hemispheric affairs in Washington.