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Pelosi Middle East Trip End Run Around Bush

From her hometown paper, the San Francisco Chronicle:


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, before talks at his headquarters in Ramallah, Tuesday April 3, 2007. Pelosi later arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus, where she is scheduled to meet with President Bashar Assad and other Syrian officials on Wednesday.

Pelosi seen moving around Bush in Mideast

A BOLD STEP: Analysts call speaker’s trip ‘a big deal,’ but how much can she do?

Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

(04-03) 04:00 PDT Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival in Syria tonight is widely viewed in Washington as a bold end run around President Bush, raising her profile as a kind of Democratic prime minister to Bush’s Republican presidency.

Pelosi’s trip is far from the usual fact-finding trip by a congressional delegation — two Democratic senators, current presidential hopeful Chris Dodd and former presidential nominee John Kerry, hardly caused a ripple when they visited Syrian President Bashar Assad in December, with similar discouragement from the White House. Nor for that matter did a visit Sunday by three Republican congressmen.

“This is a big deal,” said Charles Kupchan, a former official with President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council. “This is the Democrats pushing back against the White House, and I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Besides exploring the possibility of engagement with Syria, he said, Pelosi “to some extent is undermining President Bush’s monopoly over the conduct of foreign policy.” …

Pelosi called her forthcoming stop in Syria “an excellent idea” and an opportunity to talk about what Syria can do to help or hinder terrorism. “We have no illusions, but we have great hope,” she said Monday after meeting Lebanese majority leader Saad al-Hariri.

Rep. Tom Lantos, a San Mateo Democrat and chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee who is accompanying Pelosi and several other Democrats and one Republican lawmaker, said during the group’s visit to Israel on Sunday, “We have an alternative Democratic foreign policy. I view my job as beginning with restoring overseas credibility and respect for the United States.” …

By explicitly rejecting Bush’s foreign policy, Pelosi is deliberately crafting her own Democratic diplomacy. Seizing on the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former Republican Secretary of State James Baker, offers Pelosi the political cover that Bush shunned when he dismissed them…

Critics said Pelosi is treading dangerous ground.

“She should not be freelancing,” added Peter Brookes, a former Bush defense official. “She is welcome to make her views known as speaker of the House, but at the moment, the executive branch runs U.S. foreign policy. She has to be very careful, because there could be miscalculations or misperceptions that come out of these sorts of meetings.”

Others contend that the situation in Iraq is so urgent that it cannot wait more than a year and a half until Bush leaves office to change course…

Or you could call it a sophisticated form of treason.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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