That’s not me saying that (though I agree). Nope, those are the words today from the Washington Post’s editors and influential columnist Claudia Rosett in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace,” Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.
Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush’s military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi’s attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.
On this trip she made a point of showing how easy it is to interact with Syrians, with an itinerary that included a visit to a souk in Damascus – where she was photographed holding out her hand while a cheerful vendor gave her some nuts.
Unfortunately, that photo-op sums up the best that can be said about Pelosi’s trip: Nuts.
This is not just nutty politics; it is dangerous. For Pelosi, this may count as interaction. But for Assad’s regime in Syria, this amounts to chumps on pilgrimage. Damascus is infested by a dynastic tyranny in which “dialogue” serves chiefly as cover for duplicity and terror. These traits are not simply regrettable habits that Assad might be charmed out of. They are big business and prime instruments of power.
But Pelosi doesn’t care about America winning the World War III, she’s only concerned with destroying our Commander In Chief at every turn and doing well in the next election. Well, Americans don’t like defeat and they don’t like traitors. So good luck with your efforts, Nancy.
If Nancy Pelosi spoke truth to power about women who are really actually oppressed in the world, that would be one thing. But this is a woman who tries to act like American women are oppressed, and uses it as a cheap political tactic (remember her plane idiocy, as one example?). As I’ve written before, her being the first woman Speaker could actually be a great opportunity for human rights. Instead, she rather make a spectacle of herself conducting foreign policy.
Is there a provision to impeach the Speaker of the House? (Remember, she is “Not My Speaker”.)
UPDATE 4/6/07 (by John, AGJ): I hope Bruce doesn’t mind, but the criticism of Speaker Pelosi’s trip by many in the “MSM” continues as this editorial in USA Today shows (emphasis mine):
Democrats in Congress have been busy flexing their foreign policy muscles almost from the moment they took power in January, for the most part responsibly. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi crossed a line this week by visiting Syria, where she met with President Bashar Assad. She violated a long-held understanding that the United States should speak with one official voice abroad – even if the country is deeply divided on foreign policy back home.
Like it or not (and we do not), President Bush’s policy has been to refuse to negotiate with Syria until it changes its behavior. That behavior is malignant. Syria has long meddled destructively in neighboring Lebanon and is widely seen as the bloody hand behind the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Syria has aligned itself with Iran and supports the violently anti-Israel groups Hezbollah and Hamas. It foments violence in Iraq by allowing suicide bombers and jihadists to cross the Syria-Iraq border…
Also along was House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., who said the meeting was “only the beginning of our constructive dialogue with Syria, and we hope to build on this visit.” That suggested Democrats are going beyond unobjectionable fact-finding and getting-to-know-you conversation into something closer to negotiations, undermining U.S. diplomacy…
Pelosi’s office defended her trip by noting that the “administration’s cold-shoulder approach has yielded nothing but more Syrian intransigence.” As true as that is, the place for Pelosi to make the case is not in Damascus. It’s not up to the speaker to unfreeze relations with Assad.