Pratfall in Damascus

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posted on Apr, 5 2007 @ 11:34 PM
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Pratfall in Damascus


www.washingtonpost.com

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.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.jpost.com

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
Bush Rival Breaks Syria Boycott




posted on Apr, 5 2007 @ 11:34 PM
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Just one problem with this strategy: what Speaker Pelosi said wasn't true.

Was this a bold stroke of genius, or an act of monumental incompetence?

www.washingtonpost.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Apr, 5 2007 @ 11:43 PM
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Who does Nancy think she is? She's trying to make a hero of herself.

Syria will play this game perfectly. They realize that this is a perfect opportunity to undermine the adminastration. Facts are facts. And the facts are that Syria is a major supporter of Hezbollah and they are doing nothign to stop sunni insurgents from flooding into Iraq.

I'm gonna go with an act of monumental incompetence.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 12:01 AM
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"HEYYYYYY PLooooosssssssiiii!, ju got some splainin to do!!"

"Uh, those darn Republicans, they switched out the real note, very funny, just call me April's FOOL!!"

[edit on 2007/4/6 by JacKatMtn]



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 12:39 AM
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Scuttle Diplomacy

Prior to the visit, I followed the controversy surrounding all this with interest. Personally, I thought Speaker Pelosi's point about the Republican delegation visiting Syria right before she arrived was valid.

After all, if it was okay for them to have a fact-finding mission to Syria, then why not her?

Fair enough. I was convinced she had a legitimate rebuttal to the Bush Administration's complaints and chalked it up to political posturing by the White House.

And indeed, if Speaker Pelosi would have confined her activities to those of a legitimate fact-finding mission, I probably wouldn't have thought anything more of it.

But this is a whole different ballgame.

Lights! Camera! Fraction!

First off, I'm willing to bet most people couldn't name a single member of the Republican delegation, or even the Republican member of Pelosi's own delegation. The spotlights were all on her, and this was her big chance to assert her stature as a world-class stateswoman.

Photo-ops? Check. Platitudes? Check. Historic visits and symbolic gestures? Check.

So far, so good. Ms. Pelosi did a great job of making her presence known and capturing world attention.

And then, with the whole world watching and the tapestry of history weaving around her like a prayer shawl, what did she do?

Something breathtaking.

Speaker Pelosi, in her moment of glory, her coming-out party in Damascus, defiantly shouting "in your face!" at the President of the United States with deeds if not words, managed to misrepresent the political and diplomatic positions of not one, not two, but three different nations simultaneously: the United States, Israel and even her host country, Syria.

Right there, in front of God and everybody.


Oops!


She Ain't All That

So what does this mean? It means Speaker Pelosi just proved beyond all doubt that while she may be a shrewd and experienced legislator, she ain't no diplomat.

This is a mistake even entry-level State Department employees wouldn't make.

I'm sure "her people" will brush this under the Persian rug as best they can and move on, and it seems the parties involved are doing their best not to make a big deal of the fact that America's third-in-line for the presidency just made a fool of herself (and hey, let's face it: Bush has done that enough to give her plenty of cover), but truly this is a blunder of epic proportions.

I mean seriously, if she's willing to fabricate stories from whole cloth to try to make herself look more important, it can only mean she really isn't all that important. :shk:

A Woman's Place Is In The House

Talk is cheap, but in Speaker Pelosi's case, it's now officially worthless, and in the wake of this fiasco, her credibility with foreign leaders probably rates somewhere between that of Baghdad Bob and that guy on Saturday Night Live who used to say "Yeah! THAT'S the ticket!".

Nancy Pelosi's big moment in the Middle East as a no-nonsense player on the world stage turned out to be a modern version of The Innocents Abroad and -- ironically enough -- nonsense itself.

In the sink-or-swim world of international diplomacy, first impressions matter.

Considering the loud gurgling noises coming from the deep end of the geopolitical pool, I can only hope Speaker Pelosi will find herself safely back on dry land when she returns to a Washington that has changed in subtle but significant ways during her absence.







[edit on 4/6/2007 by Majic]



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 01:50 AM
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WEll said Majic.

I dont understand how these people get elected... Remember the plane fiasco a few months back? How did she ever think that would fly? (no pun intended). After that I knew she was a dimwit that had no business being in congress. I would be willing to bet that most of the members of ATS know way more about the middle east than she does.

It's exactly as you say though. This was nothing more than a photo op. Pelosi had no intention of making things better across the pond. She had every intention of looking like a renegade that can go against the Bush administration.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 01:52 AM
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Well said Majic.
Not much to add, other than ...Tommy Flanagan.

ok, a little more.

Nancy comes back Today, I think.
Do you think she even knows, or cares about what she has done?

I just don't think it was appropriate, in any way for her to do an "end run" around the administration. Fact Finding, my butt.

She was there for self promotion. Look at ME!!
I can't wait to see her on the talk show circuit. You KNOW thats coming soon.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 02:02 AM
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I completely agree with you Majic.

I, like you, thought she did have a right to go there on a fact-finding mission, but I think it's obvious she stepped way over line and trespassed on the President and Secretary of State's turf.

It's highly unlikely that her actions will result in any serious action against her, but I think she did knock herself down a few notches both with the public and inside the beltway.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 06:48 AM
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Pelosi should stick to what she is good at and that is helping to create the impression that the Dems are actually any differnt from the Republicans. Pelosi and her chargers are very good at blowing lots of hot air in the form of non binding resolutions. Anything beyond that and Pelosi is out of her depth.

Its a pretty sad state of affairs if Pelosi is the best that the dems can come up with. A smarter move would been to have a trusted and knowledgeable aid travel to the region (maybe even with Rice if that's possible) and have he/she report back to Pelosi.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 08:38 AM
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Is it just me, or is everybody in Washington more concerned with setting themselves up for a possible White House run in some nebulous future than in doing the job they were elected to do?

I had no issue with her going to the Middle East for a "factfinding" mission. If Republicans get to go, so can Democrats, it's hypocrisy to say its a good thing for one and a bad thing for the other.

"Innocents abroad" is an all too apt description of Ms. Pelosi. Yes, she may indeed be a whizbang legislator, but as a wannabe diplomat, she makes a wonderful whizbang legislator.

As much as Congress wishes it were otherwise, the President makes foreign policy...for her to go overseas and attempt to change or redirect foriegn policy is overstepping her bounds more than slightly. Her only influence on foreign policy is the control of the purse strings.

As expert11 said, a better move would have been to attach an aide to a state department mission and have him or her report back...preferably an aide without an agenda of his or her own. But that, I suppose, would have kept her from being the impressive world leader she wanted to come across as (ooopsey). As it played out, she comes across as one of two things, hopelessly innocent of political reality, thinking to shame Syria and Israel into anything they don't want to do, is the first thing. The second is a politically incompetant huckstress who got way out of her depth. In either case, she should have been smart enough to know her limits, and play within them.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 09:22 AM
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I think she was just trying too hard to undo all the damage the Bush administration, with all its hardline, in your face, "bring it on!" warmongering, has done to our international standing.

She should have just stuck with the olive branch, not tried to bring the whole tree.

I think it is high time somebody, but probably not Pelosi, set about rebuilding US international relations, based on something other than threats of bombs and missiles and hostile occupations.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 10:05 AM
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One question raised is, did she break the law?


United States Code TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 45 > § 953
Private correspondence with foreign governments

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 12:28 PM
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Your sited regulations, IMHO, apply to you or I, moreso than to high powered elected officials, especially when that elected official is the third highest ranked elected official in the US gov't.

It's a gray area. I don't think she should have done what she did, but again different rules for such highly placed officials.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 12:46 PM
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She actually did far more damage than I think she could have realized by pandering to the photo-ops, according to the Syrian Reform Party:

Article


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was seen roaming the streets of Damascus flaunting a Hijab. The Hijab worn by women across the Muslim world has come to symbolize either one of three things: 1) a symbol that men control women by forcing piety, or 2) a return to religiosity because of oppressive rulers, or 3) a fashion statement. If you ask any expert on the Middle East, you would get any one of three answers. The ones who usually claim it is a fashion statement are the political rulers who usually oppress people in general. A Hijab is NOT a confirmation of the rights of women in the Middle East but rather a symbol of their suppression.

As a Muslim, I fully understand respect of our religion by visiting US officials and I applaud that respect. Had Speaker Pelosi worn the Hijab inside a Mosque, this would have indicated respect but for Pelosi to wear it on the streets of Damascus all the while she is sitting with the self-imposed Baschar al-Assad who has come to symbolize oppression and one of the reasons why women are forced to wear the Hijab as they turn to religion to express their freedom is a statement of submittal not only to oppression but also to lack of women's rights in the Middle East. Pelosi just reversed the work of the Syrian civil society and those who aspire for women's freedom in the Muslim countries many years back with her visual statement. Her lack of experience of the Middle East is showing.


This really is evidence of the necessity of a Secretary of State who is responsible for knowing all that is going on in a country they visit. I'm guessing Nancy didn't think anything beyond what her pollsters told her to do when she went there. After all, what's the worst that could happen?

[edit on 4/6/07/06 by junglejake]



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 12:53 PM
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Your sited regulations, IMHO, apply to you or I, moreso than to high powered elected officials, especially when that elected official is the third highest ranked elected official in the US gov't.


Seagull, Some people are not so sure of that. The Supreme Court seems to have a different opinon of the law than you do.

See Below:


U.S. Supreme Court UNITED STATES v. CURTISS-WRIGHT

In this vast external realm, with its important, complicated, delicate and manifold problems, the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude; and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.


[edit on 4/6/07 by makeitso]



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 02:25 PM
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Makeitso. I'm not disagreeing with you, so much as stating a fact. People with the kind of political power that Ms. Pelosi wields are a law unto themselves. I don't like it, but that is the way it works.

The President should be the only one who has the authourity to determine foriegn policy. Regardless of whether or not we agree is beside the point. We agree. The reality of it is, however, that no untoward consequence will occur for her. Unlike what would happen to you or I. That's all I saying. She's wrong, but won't pay a price for it.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 02:43 PM
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To reinforce what seagull said, observe the number of times the New York Times has been charged with treason for having knowingly published classified material.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 05:15 PM
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First, does anyone think Pelosi is going to bring peace to the middle east? The whole trip was a naïve thing to do

This also sends the region a mixed message not to mention the fact that it was a PR dream come true for Assad and Syria. Syria sponsors terror. Pelosi is giving them legitimacy. Is anyone happy about this?



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 08:32 PM
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As far as I'm concerned the US sponsors terror, and I am not happy about it one bit.

We have to stop with all this holier than thou crap that got us into this mess in the first place.

Pride surely goeth before the fall.





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