Condi Does Damascus

Seems like it was just a month ago that the Bush administration, and assorted right-wing pundits, were blasting Nancy Pelosi for meeting with the Syrians.

My how things have changed.

The Bush administration has ended its diplomatic quarantine of Syria by having the Secretary of State meet her counterpart from Damascus during a conference in Egypt that the US hopes will be a first step towards restoring stability to Iraq

I’m not saying Pelosi was right to go to Syria, because – well – I don’t think she was, and I don’t see much long-term value in engaging a terrorist-sponsoring government like that in Syria in the future of Iraq, given that their only response will be whatever increases Syria’s leverage in the region, whether that bode well or ill for the Iraqis.

It’s just the… you know… rank hypocrisy of the whole charade.

7 Responses to “Condi Does Damascus”

  1. PatrickP Says:

    Uh, Condi Rice is Secretary of State. Nancy Pelosi is a Congresswoman from California who was explicitly asked not to go. She does not get to determine foreign policy on her own.

  2. andy Says:

    No, she doesn’t, but when Bush says:

    “Photo opportunities and/or meetings with President Assad lead the Assad government to believe they’re part of the mainstream of the international community, when, in fact, they’re a state sponsor of terror,” Bush said.

    …one must wonder just what changed in the last month to make it ok to visit a state sponsor of terror.

  3. PatrickP Says:

    I know, but that was a game Pelosi initiated and Bush responded. Rice wasn’t gallivanting around Egypt or Syria taking in the sites like Pelosi did (:photo opportunities). Pelosi was such an embarrassment. Rice was at a conference at which her counterpart from Syria was present. As Secretary of State she engaged him with the President’s blessing. Pelosi acted like she was one of the lesser royals touring the colonies.

  4. Kafkaesquí Says:

    Patrick, just whom, exactly, asked Pelosi not to go?

    The Speaker submitted a travel itinerary to the State Department and the White House before she left. Though the State Department was said to have discouraged the trip, apparently they we’re so adamantly against it they provided a pre-trip briefing to her delegation’s staff. It was also widely reported Pelosi had personally informed President Bush of her plans, and he failed to object to them (well, not until she was actually over there).

    I wouldn’t mark it a high point in her political career, but I disagree the trip was an embarrassment. However, I do agree the Speaker doesn’t get to determine foreign policy on her own (then again, neither does the President). I’m just not sure where in all her photo-oping she was up to such a thing.

    In any case, if Pelosi needed an excuse I guess she could just claim to have been following precedent.

  5. geoff Says:

    I think your hypocrisy sensor needs to be turned down a bit. What did Bush really say? He said:

    “We have made it clear to high-ranking officials, whether they be Republicans or Democrats, that going to Syria sends mixed signals,” Bush said to reporters at the White House.

    Did Condi go to Syria? Nyoop. The Bush administration also had representatives at a conference in Baghdad on March 10 – a conference that, gasp!! Syrian representatives also attended. They may even have spoken!!

    they provided a pre-trip briefing to her delegation’s staff.

    They were hardly in a position to refuse it. And as they said:

    Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the briefing did not represent an endorsement of the visit and denied that she carried any message from the Bush government.

  6. andy Says:

    Hmmm, engaging in a “bilateral discussion,” as indicated by the article, is a bit different than exchanging pleasantries at a lunch party with delightful finger sandwiches.

    So, if this wasn’t a mixed message, was it a slightly swirled-about one?

  7. geoff Says:

    “Bilateral discussion?” Meaning both sides said something? The point is: a half-hour discussion in Egypt does not constitute a visit to the head of state of Syria. And of course, if you’re planning on having some test-the-waters talks on a low-key basis, it doesn’t help to have Pelosi tromping in like the Queen of the House and making pronouncements about our peace plans with Damascus.

    So I don’t see the hypocrisy. But I am surprised that we are starting talks with Syria, though there are reports that they’re getting a bit more energetic in controlling their border with Iraq.

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