Thursday, April 05, 2007

Calling Out Pelosi

Kudos to the editorial board of the Washington Post for getting this one right. Nancy Pelosi has absolutely no authority to conduct foreign policy that goes against the policy of the President of the United States. She cannot substitute her own judgment for that of the President.

For starters, that is unconstitutional. It doesn't matter whether you agree with this President's foreign policy choices or not. Congress does not have the power or right to substitute its own foreign policy for that of the Presidency.

And this doesn't even begin to touch on the tone deaf approach by Pelosi, the meddling and misleading nature of her comments that included making statements about Israeli intentions for peace with Syria:
HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered an excellent demonstration yesterday of why members of Congress should not attempt to supplant the secretary of state when traveling abroad. After a meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel was ready to engage in peace talks" with Syria. What's more, she added, Mr. Assad was ready to "resume the peace process" as well. Having announced this seeming diplomatic breakthrough, Ms. Pelosi suggested that her Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy was just getting started. "We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria," she said.

Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. "What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel," said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister's office. In fact, Mr. Olmert told Ms. Pelosi that "a number of Senate and House members who recently visited Damascus received the impression that despite the declarations of Bashar Assad, there is no change in the position of his country regarding a possible peace process with Israel." In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel's position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad's words were mere propaganda.
The WaPo tries to argue that the GOPers on the trip with Pelosi were just as culpable for sending mixed messages, but the difference is not simply nuance. Pelosi is the highest ranking Democrat in the House and third in line to the Presidency. Her words carry far more weight than the other members on the trip combined. Her actions carry more weight.

That she doesn't realize this shows her inexperience and failure to appreciate the difficulty of wading into Middle East politics without understanding that appearances are as important as words or deeds. By appearing in Damascus, she played right into the hands of the butcher Assad. By wearing a hijab while she was out on the streets of Damascus, she showed that she was subservient to Muslim dictates, despite the fact that it is a sign that women are treated as second class citizens.

After a discussion/question at LGF over what kind of reporting on the subject was done by the WaPo, I came up with the following:
There's this piece getting opinions on Pelosi's foreign policy adventures. Carter "demurs" but others say she was within what some observers call such trips. It was interesting to note that it was Democrat House Majority leaders who have expanded their role in foreign policy well beyond what it had been for generations.

This piece notes the competing political interests in foreign policy and the absence of Bush in the developments, including the release of the 15 Brits (go figure that someone would try to make spurrious connections between Pelosi's visit and the release). Also, it tries to suggest that being a superpower still has limits. I'd argue that the only limits are what are self imposed. A lack of will to take action - defensive or otherwise - defines the power downward.

This article notes that Pelosi's visit may signal a return of Syria to prominence within the region as a dealmaker. Great - Pelosi succeds in bringing back thugocracies and dictatorial regimes that seek to eliminate democratically elected governments on their borders [that's my observation, not that of the writer, who thinks this is just swell].

However, the key graf has really nothing to do with Pelosi and everything to do with the GWoT, Iraq, al Qaeda, Iran, and Islamofascism in general (though the article doesn't quite go that far):
Analysts say Syria is in part playing a waiting game, confident it will outlast the Bush administration. But its official media played up the symbolism of the Pelosi visit as a recognition of Syria's role in the region and a break in its isolation.
All the regimes in the region are playing a waiting game, knowing that they can simply outlast US commitments to its allies. Terrorists will take advantage of our lack of will, dictators will take advantage of neophyte political hacks who don't recognize evil for what it is, and the symbolism of such visits will resonate for a long time to come.
Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson's Website, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, sissunchi, Faultline USA, stikNstein... has no mercy, basil's blog, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, Dumb Ox Daily News, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices, Pursuing Holiness, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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