Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the Middle East has been a public relations nightmare, to say the least. It has also seriously hurt US diplomacy in the region by strengthening the positions of those who oppose US interests in the region.
An editorial in the Lebanon Daily Star by Michael Young slams her trip as strengthening Syria and Hezbollah and hurting Lebanon.
We can thank the US speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for having informed Syrian President Bashar Assad, from Beirut, that “the road to solving Lebanon’s problems passes through Damascus.” Now, of course, all we need to do is remind Pelosi that the spirit and letter of successive United Nations Security Council resolutions, as well as Saudi and Egyptian efforts in recent weeks, have been destined to ensure precisely the opposite: that Syria end its meddling in Lebanese affairs.
Pelosi embarked on a fool’s errand to Damascus this week, and among the issues she said she would raise with Assad – when she wasn’t on the Lady Hester Stanhope tour in the capital of imprisoned dissidents Aref Dalila, Michel Kilo, and Anwar Bunni – is “the role of Syria in supporting Hamas and Hizbullah.” What the speaker doesn’t seem to have realized is that if Syria is made an obligatory passage in American efforts to address the Lebanese crisis, then Hizbullah will only gain. Once Assad is re-anointed gatekeeper in Lebanon, he will have no incentive to concede anything, least of all to dilettantes like Pelosi, on an organization that would be Syria’s enforcer in Beirut if it could re-impose its hegemony over its smaller neighbor.
The Left is quick to defend its Dear Leader, and ThinkProgress trotted out a story featuring Denny Hastert and his “undermining” of Bill Clinton, who was decreasing aid to Columbia for fighting the “Drug War”:
…a congressional delegation led by Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) which met with Colombian military officials, promising to “remove conditions on assistance” and complaining about “leftist-dominated” U.S. congresses of years past that “used human rights as an excuse to aid the left in other countries.” Hastert said he would to correct this situation and expedite aid to countries allied in the war on drugs and also encouraged Colombian military officials to “bypass the U.S. executive branch and communicate directly with Congress.”
TP: If the right is looking for members of Congress clearly infringing on the president’s constitutional prerogatives, they should look at Hastert, not Pelosi.
So Hastert wanting to bolster the Drug War is the same as Pelosi negotiating with states that are actively undermining peace in the Middle East, giving support to terrorists, sending operatives into Iraq to kill American troops, and undermining a democracy in the region that has taken steps to eject influence from its terrorist-sponsoring neighbor. In fact, according to TP (approrpiate acronym), Hastert’s actions were worse than Pelosi’s. Why? I have no idea, other than it was a Republican undermining Clinton, and any action by Pelosi to undermine Bush is a good thing, regardless of the impact it makes on foreign policy.