Monday, April 09, 2007

Syrian Trip

Thoughts on Pelosi's trip to Damascus.

1. I think it was stupidly handled. Looked very amateurish. Reminded me of her misstep with Jack Murtha. She should have had a Sen. Specter (whose been to Syria to met with Bashar Assad) with her and/or a member of the Iraq Study Group who called for such a meeting between the US and Syria. Politically it was a mistake to give momentum back to conservatives who are grasping at straws for anything. What is worse than incompetent? What word is there for making incomptent look competent? Why give Bush a layup on such an shoot-yourself-in-the-foot turnover?

2. She's right that Bush's self-imposed isolation is ignorant beyond belief. These governments (no governments pretty much anymore) want we want for them in the region---i.e. for Syria we want regime change. The best you can get is second or third place finish, but that's better than 9th or total failure. In light of the failure of post-reconstruction Iraq, what these governments know is the US can destroy them and then they can go underground and wage a successful insurgency against US.

--I don't like this "shadow diplomacy/State Dept." as Washington Post more or less rightly called it. But it is clear the Democrats are formulating their own post 9/11 worldview and foreign policy. Karl Rove said the Dems were still pre-9/11 in their thinking. Now they are thinking post 9/11 and they get flack again.

--Bush's obstinacy keeps punting the Democrats from having to take any responsibility. They are not accountable because Bush can not do a thing right--therefore anything the Dems do looks superior. Hence they are not particularly discerning right now. Bush had a chance out of this, out of this most pathetic of second terms in US history.

3. If the Bush policy is to isolate Iran, there would be no better way to do that than by splitting Syria--who has made such overtures publicly--off from Iran. Syria is the direct pipeline of Iran to Hezbollah and Hamas.

Still the Dems have got to start asking themselves do they want a scarfed Nancy Pelosi being their face? I sure as hell wouldn't want that if I were a Democrat.

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At 1:43 PM, Anonymous ebuddha said...

Disagree entirely - the whole thing is a Bush admin hitjob on Pelosi, to wit:

a. Republicans can and have met with Assad. There was a Republican delegation a week before. There was a Republican WITH Pelosi, on this trip.
b. Bush knew about the trip previous to it, in fact talked with her about it the day before, and never raised an objection
c. On the transmission of a message from Israel to Syria, both another congressman avers Pelosi delivered exactly the message Pelosi wanted delivered, as well as:
d. There were Israeli reports, previous to Pelosi GOING to Syria, that Israel had a message that would be delivered through Pelosi.

This is one of those "little lies" (see Krugman) and Republican hitjobs that turns a normal course of events - congresspeople meeting foreign leaders - and turns the person going about this normal event - Pelosi - into a perception that Pelosi "stupidly handled" something.

I can provide the references and links, if you wish, or haven't seen the evidence for the above.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger CJ Smith said...

I know a-d; I'm not disagreeing with that, I'm still saying it was dumb for her to go. It was sloppy Republican hit job or not (which is true). It was dumb of her, dumb of Bush. Dumbness is a non-zero sum game on this one--i.e. their collective dumbness is greater than the sum of the two parts.

She could have sent Baker & Hamilton to make her points.

Don't go me wrong, I pro talks with Syria. This was not the way to do it in my book.

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous ebuddha said...

Ah, I see. So you mean "politically" stupid.

That makes more sense.

I still disagree. There truly isn't a good reason why all members of Congress should be able to go to Syria EXCEPT Pelosi, because of how it "looks", based on Bush making a big deal about it.

Fundamentally, she has that right. Secondly, if she can make a difference by communicating a message to Syria from Israel, and this diminishes the chance for war, why shouldn't she?

At any rate, the thrust of your post - the equalization "it was dumb of her, dumb of Bush", is a type of faux "pox on both their houses". While you may be right on Pelosi, in that she could have "anticipated" that Bush would (after saying nothing previous to her going) ambush her, the ambush itself is, as measured, a more immoral action.


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