The division of powers is a wonderful thing. It is probably the key to the success of American democracy.
When it comes to foreign policy, the division is clear: The president can make any policy he wants, but Congress holds the purse strings.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has overstepped that division with her trip to Syria this week.
Now I believe that Syria has to be turned somehow, peeled away from Iran in order to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East. So I tried to find some good in this visit. However when the liberal Wife and now the left-wing Washington Post believe the visit was foolish, and the foolish dictator-loving President Carter likes it, well, it’s time to admit defeat.
Here’s what WaPo had to say about her visit:
“We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace,” Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.
Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush’s military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi’s attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.
I suppose it’s only natural that Congress attempts to gain power at the expense of an unpopular, lame duck president. However to do so by kissing the ass of one of the world’s thugs who is directly responsible for the death of American soldiers in Iraq, Israeli soldiers and civilians in Israel, and Lebanese Democracy shows a complete naivety in world affairs, and underscores that Democrats aren’t ready for the presidency.
As a Republican I should be clapping my hands in glee at Pelosi’s arrogance. Should Syria do something stupid over the next 18 months, such as goad Hezbollah into attacking Israel again – likely according to the Israeli media – there will be plenty of photos of Assad and Pelosi to display, and quotes to dredge up to use against Democrats. The silence from the leading Democratic candidates on the visit will only make it easier to portray the Republican candidates as better suited to handling foreign policy, and therefore, maintaining control of the Oval Office.
However my desire for peace in the Middle East transcends my current party affiliation; I supported peace just as vehemently when I was a Democrat. Pelosi’s visit has setback those prospects, and it’s clear to me that she should have just stayed at home.