A few years back, Harlem rapper Cam'ron appeared on Bill O'Reilly's "The Factor." O'Reilly wanted to know if Cam'ron felt his music was a bad influence on kids. When things got tough, Cam shut down the debate by taunting O'Reilly with a bizarrely effective chant of "you maaaad, you maaaaad."
Between China staying mum on North Korea's attack against a South Korean sub, Iran sanctions despite Brazil's push back, Europe going broke and that huge diplomatic mess that is the Israeli blockade of Gaza, I wouldn't blame Hillary if she wanted to pull a Cam'ron this week when talking with Latin American leaders about Honduras at the OAS meeting.
The Obama admin came to DC with aims to change the Bush-era perception that minus drugs and immigrants, Latin America is a forgotten backwater of America's global reach. With so many pressing problems in the world, Hillary might wonder what's going on at an organization whose members bent over backwards to let in a country that doesn't want to join them and now are working hard to keep out a country whose government would love to get back to normal.
But Hillary and the Obama administration haven't given up. In the year and a half that she's been Secretary of State, Hillary has made 7 trips to the region. Because the region was an afterthought to the Bush admin and because the region has never been treated to full partnership status by any American administration, it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of investment to see dividends.
As you can see in the O'Reilly clip, Bill turns his attention away from the disruptive "Killa Cam" and focuses his attention on the slightly more reasonable Damon Dash.
In the sense of US-Latin American relations over Honduras, I find a parallel in what Christopher Sabatini at Americas Quarterly had to say:
The ALBA countries have no interest in seeing this resolved. But moderate countries should, and objective and skillful diplomacy can get them there; it’s up to the U.S., its Brazilian colleagues and the much-criticized leadership of the OAS.
Now there’s also the matter of why two whole meetings of the region’s foreign ministers and secretaries should be taken up by Cuba and Honduras. But that’s another issue.
The Cam'ron approach, though highly rewarding in the short term, doesn't do much to build bridges and get results over the long term. Sorry Hillary, looks like you're going to have to stick with playing O'Reilly.
Image Source: NahRight
Online Sources: NY Times, Americas Quarterly, YouTube, The O'Reilly Factor, International Herald Tribune, Bloggings by Boz, Business Week, BBC News, Christian Science Monitor