Monday, March 01, 2004

Sudden Convert to Regime Change

A Le Monde editorial states that the overthrow of Aristide demonstrates the international community’s “willingness to favor a healthy political process in Haiti, after the corrupt, autocratic and incompetent power of Aristide who was, however, democratically elected.” Le Monde also refers to the intervention as a “ ‘model’ of coordinated action.”

Le Monde’s praise of an internationally sponsored coup d’état as part of a “healthy political process” is surprising and inconsistent. The paper’s editorial board has, in the past, criticized the U.S. government’s efforts to sideline Arafat (efforts that, unlike France’s actions in Haiti, have never gone as far as calling for armed intervention) largely because, however miserable a leader Arafat may be, he is a democratically elected one. Why the change of heart with respect to Haiti’s democratically elected leader? Is Aristide any more “corrupt, autocratic and incompetent” than Arafat? Moreover, Le Monde and the Quai d’Orsay were calling for Iraqi elections soon after American soldiers entered Baghdad. Where are comparable calls for a Haitian election in the near future? Under the Haitian constitution (assuming that such a thing as a sovereign country’s constitution matters), elections must be held within 45 to 90 days of a president’s resignation.

One can only wonder at Le Monde’s sudden embrace of regime change.