Of course, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s well chronicled trip to Syria was blatant, politically-motivated grandstanding masquerading as “fact-finding.” But so was that of the Republican trio of congressmen who had immediately preceded her. And then there was last year’s Syrian sortie by Florida Senator Bill Nelson.
This is obviously no way to conduct a coherent, credible foreign policy.
The U.S. needs to speak with one consistent, adult, non-partisan voice – without sending the signal that the Bashar Assads are mere props for domestic political agendas. It’s also no secret that the Bashar Assads do not play the prop without extracting a price: the opportunity to buy time and exploit America’s foreign-policy babel for their own geo-political ends.
Ultimately, however, the fault lies with the Bush Administration. It never believed in talking to its adversaries – even those outside the “axis of evil.” It thus paved the way for an Iraq Study Group to make the sort of recommendations that gives cover to those who want to free-lance for political profit in the Middle East.