Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Marco Rubio's "Bully" Pulpit

One way not to get what you want is to bully other countries publicly.

Sen. Marco Rubio sent a strong warning to the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Haiti on Monday, saying that it would be difficult to protect them from possible cuts in U.S. aid if they fail to defend democracy when the Venezuelan government comes up for a possible sanctions vote at the Organization of American States (OAS). 
The Florida Republican, one of the harshest critics of the Venezuelan government in Washington, told El Nuevo Herald that the OAS vote set for Tuesday is exceptionally important for the future of democracy in the region, and of the hemispheric organization itself. 
The vote would even affect the assistance that Washington provides to El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, he added.

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This made me think immediately of George W. Bush pressuring Chile and Mexico (among others) in 2003 to get their UN votes for the invasion of Iraq. It did not go over well, and poisoned the U.S.-Mexico relationship for a long time.

Even worse in this case is the obvious fact that punishing El Salvador and Haiti will only make migration and other issues worse, which then creates more problems for the U.S. As with so many aspects of U.S. policy, unintended (but foreseeable) consequences hover around. Though I suppose we've been learning that blustering and then not getting what you want is a hallmark of the current administration.


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