April 9, 2007


The Road to Damascus (Michael Barone, 4/9/07, Creators Syndicate)

"We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared after her visit to Syria and her meeting with its hereditary dictator Bashir Assad last week. "We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria."

The woman second in line for the presidency (after Vice President Dick Cheney) seemed to believe she was on a Henry Kissinger-like shuttle diplomacy mission from Jerusalem to Damascus. But Henry Kissinger she ain't. Pelosi said she was delivering a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel was ready to engage in peace talks" with Syria. A seeming breakthrough. Not so, said a statement speedily issued by Olmert's office. It said that Olmert had not made "any change in the policies of Israel."

Pelosi said Assad indicated he was ready to "resume the peace process." That wasn't the impression other members of Congress took away from their meeting with him a few days earlier. Syria under Assad pere et fils has steadfastly refused to make peace with Israel, despite diplomatic efforts considerably more assiduous than Pelosi is in a position to undertake. Bill Clinton's first secretary of state, Warren Christopher, traveled the road to Damascus to meet with the elder Assad 22 times. End product: nada. [...]

At the heart of that thinking is this proposition: We're the problem. America, or rather George W. Bush, is the problem. We're not doing enough to get the Israelis and Syrians together; we're not doing enough to address the grievances of the Palestinian people (than whom "nobody is suffering more," according to Barack Obama); we're not doing enough to mollify the dictators who are working against us.

For all their talk about "compassion" and "internationalism," one can't help but notice how liberals consistently ignore the effect that their overhyped "peace overtures" will have on captive (or at least reasonably frightened) populations. For example, it seems doubtful that the Lebanese are particularly enthusiastic about this spectacle.

Posted by Matt Murphy at April 9, 2007 6:48 PM

Consequence of Pelosi's Kissinger moment: encourage Sadr who was hiding from the US and Iraqi forces to stake a claim.


Posted by: ic at April 9, 2007 9:00 PM

We hid Sadr, but he can't lose all credibility.

Posted by: oj at April 9, 2007 9:46 PM

C'mon, OJ - Mookie is just getting desperate because he's getting marginalized. The Iraqi Army (and the US, too) is taking and holding areas he thought were exclusively his. The Sunni are going to get the worst of the 'surge', but Mookie's team is going to take a hit as well. In 6 months, he may not even be able to return to Iraq.

Posted by: ratbert at April 10, 2007 10:20 PM

To the contrary, the deal he cut with Maliki, Sistani and us is to drop a dime on the worst guys in the Militia and get out of the way for the surge in return for which he gets power in the government.

Posted by: oj at April 10, 2007 10:53 PM