Last week, there was a great deal of stirring about Nancy Pelosi’s free-lancing in the field of foreign relations. Her trip to Syria — a nation listed as a sponsor of terrorism, and the one who has held Lebanon under its thumb for decades — was decried as undermining the Bush Administration’s policies, and even possibly illegal.
But the more I think about it, I begin to wonder if the Speaker might have been right about something.
The most famous quote from Ms. Pelosi from her trip was “We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace.”
Most people latched on to the “road to Damascus” as a biblical allusion, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered. Could it be an allusion to a more recent era of history?
During World War II, there was a lot of grumbling in the ranks of the United States Army. (This was in no way treasonous or seditious; complaining is one of the soldiers’ primary forms of expression. In fact, for some it’s an art form, and something to do to break up the tedium.) One frequent sentiment was a desire to go home. The traditional rejoinder was that “the quickest way home is through Berlin.”
Let’s look at Syria. Our government lists it as a terrorist sponsoring state, and with damned good reason. It provides much of the backing and support for several terrorist groups. Much of the leadership of Hamas is based out of Damascus. (They are even listed in the local phone books, I understand.) They, along with Iran, essentially created Hezbollah and assisted it in dominating Lebanon through terror and violence. Syria has directly intervened in Lebanon for literally decades, even going so far as to assassinate major political figures who have worked for a Lebanon free of Syrian domination.
It’s pretty clear that Syria really doesn’t have much interest in “peace,” at least as we define it. Our goals for the region are diametrically opposed, and there really isn’t that much grounds for compromise: Syria wants to continue to keep Lebanon as a vassal state, see the return of a Baathist-style dictatorship in Iraq, and the destruction of Israel — just to cite three of their goals. Perhaps we can let them keep Lebanon and only blow up half of Israel?
So, was Pelosi secretly carrying a big stick while she was speaking softly to Dorktator Bashar Assad?
Nah, I doubt it. That’d be giving her way, way, WAY too much credit. It’s far more plausible to think that she was simply trying to benefit herself and her party by showing that she can handle foreign policy, stick it to the Bush administration, and lay groundwork for a future Democratic administration.
Because that’s far more consistent with everything else she’s ever done.