April 4, 2007

Why Foreign Policy Belongs In The Executive Branch

The Jerusalem Post notes that the Israeli Prime Minister's office had to issue a "clarification" after Nancy Pelosi attempted to deliver a message from Ehud Olmert to Syria's Bashar Assad. The PMO's statement contradicts Pelosi and points up the problems when amateurs attempt to involve themselves in sensitive diplomacy:

The Prime Minister's Office issued a rare "clarification" Wednesday that, in gentle diplomatic terms, contradicted US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's statement in Damascus that she had brought a message from Israel about a willingness to engage in peace talks.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emphasized in his meeting with Pelosi on Sunday that "although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the Axis of Evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East."

Olmert, the statement clarified, told Pelosi that Syria's sincerity about a genuine peace with Israel would be judged by its willingness to "cease its support of terror, cease its sponsoring of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, refrain from providing weapons to Hizbullah and bringing about the destabilizing of Lebanon, cease its support of terror in Iraq, and relinquish the strategic ties it is building with the extremist regime in Iran."

Pelosi somehow forgot the part about ending support for terrorism when she met with Assad. She told the Syrian dictator that Israel was ready to meet with Assad on a peace proposal, which only told part of the story. In delivering only part of the message, Pelosi not only arrogated to herself the role of American foreign policy director -- which Condoleezza Rice has as Secretary of State -- she did the same with Israel's foreign policy as well.

Not a bad night's work for an incompetent.

When diplomats meet with enemies, they make sure to get their positions coordinated with their allies and execute strict message discipline. They do not "wing it" -- they check with their elected governments when any questions arise about the directions of talks. Only someone with an ego in inverse proportion to her talent would start making stuff up as she goes when dealing with the Syrian-Israeli relationship, one of the most explosive in the world.

Several blogs condemned Pelosi for wearing a scarf to a mosque. That didn't bother me; I considered it a form of basic etiquette when visiting someone else's place of worship. I would have no problem donning a yarmulke if I went to a synagogue, for instance, especially if I had been asked to do so. I just wish Pelosi would have worn the scarf differently -- as a gag. It would have helped her do less damage to American and Israeli foreign policy. (via Hot Air and Gateway Pundit)


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Comments (27)

Posted by aynrandgirl [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 6:43 PM

I do have a problem with Pelosi wearing a hijab, because she didn't just wear it in a mosque, but everywhere she went in Syria.

Posted by bayam [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 6:59 PM

It would have helped her do less damage to American and Israeli foreign policy.

Let's see, American diplomatic standing and progress in the Middle East, esp. in helping broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians... Isn't that kind of like worrying about increasing toxic emissions in the pits of hell?

In all fairness, though, doesn't Pelosi deserve some credit for helping free the British captives? Isn't it safe to assume that her pressure on Syria is what tipped the iceberg?


Posted by Jon Prichard [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 7:07 PM

The Hijab is an iconic representation of Islamic oppression of women. Nancy Pelosi, for all her considerable faults, is representative of the open American liberated woman who can climb to the top of the political world despite her gender. That such a person feels it necessary to don a symbol of female oppression as a matter of 'etiquette' is preposterous. What she's REALLY saying is her way of appeasment to dictators and tyrrants is preferable to Bush's strong stance. Imagine for a moment Hillary actually DOES become President. Does she wear the Hijab too as a gesture to etiquette?

I fully understand the concept of 'doing as Romans do when in Rome' but do we have to participate in orgies too?

Posted by capitano [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 7:07 PM

In all fairness, though, doesn't Pelosi deserve some credit for helping free the British captives? Isn't it safe to assume that her pressure on Syria is what tipped the iceberg?

Typical lefty logic, ignore actual facts (e.g. Islamic terrorism) in favor of supposition (e.g. global warming hysteria). Here Pelosi screwed up -- fact -- in favor of wishful thinking -- she's Jesse Jackson.

Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 7:18 PM

Jon P,

I don't know. I never got invited to those kinds of parties.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 7:36 PM

Gotta wonder what Ohlmert and the rest of the Israelis are thinking right now... and if they're wondering whether or not they're next on the dems' sell-out list.

Cap'n Ed wrote:

Pelosi somehow forgot the part about ending support for terrorism when she met with Assad.

I have to wonder whether SanFran Nan would admit that Syria IS a state sponsor of terrorism. To do so would undermine the dems' calls to "negotiate" with Damascus (i.e hand over Iraq to Syria and Iranian control). Worse, it would put them in tacit agreement with the hated Chimpy McBushitler. Remember: the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that makes SanFran Nan and Assad busom buddies.

As for wearing a hijab, burqa, or any other muslim garb... Well, I think THIS modern, liberated woman has the right idea:

The Warwick native who was the first American woman ever to fly in combat has sued the Defense Department for requiring her to wear Muslim clothing when she leaves her Air Force base in Saudi Arabia.

In a suit filed in federal District Court here, Lt. Col. Martha McSally says that U.S. military women must wear black head-to-foot robes called "abayas" and ride in the back seat when off base. They can only leave base if they are accompanied by a man.

"The regulations are irrational, promulgated without sufficient governmental justification, and do not evenhandedly regulate dress and conduct," McSally argues in her lawsuit, which names Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld as defendant.

The suit says the policy undercuts her standing as an officer and violates her constitutional rights to religious freedom and due process of law. Male military personnel in Saudi Arabia are not subject to the Muslim strictures.


Incidentally, Col. McSally is also the first woman to command an Air Force fighter squadron.

Posted by Jon Prichard [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 7:55 PM


I have to side with Col. McSally on this Islamic garb business. Our Western society has struggled mightily for gender equality for decades. In so many ways our country is a beacon to the world in this regard. Why do we feel it necessary to force women to turn off that light? Why do some women, even rabid feminists, demand we kow-tow to these religious traditions? What then is the point of all the previous struggles?

To Capt. Ed - I've never been invited to those kinds of parties either. I just don't think we should always do as the host does. We're already over a cliff in appeasing anyone who is offended by pretty much anything. Its time to stand up for Western values, not hide them under a bushel...or hijab.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 8:02 PM

We talked with China and the Soviet Union during the Cold War with all 3 countries armed to the teeth with ICBM"s, but we won't sit down with Syria, a country we could squash in 24 hours? Would someone explain the rationality of that. Bush's foreign policy is to hammer everything in sight. Starting our 5th year in Iraq, even Petraues says we need a political solution.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 8:04 PM


If two sides don't want to negotiate, we can't make them.

Any pressure Pelosi might have put on Syria (which doesn't seem like much, given the Israeli clarification on their own matter) would not have been transmitted to Iran as pressure, only as information on Bush's opposition.

Pelosi's actions in adjourning Congress without any resolution condemning Iran's actions told the Iranians all they need to know about her and her ilk.

I would put Blair's brinksmanship, along with two US carrier groups off Iran's coast, as the deciding factors in Iran's eye-blink.

As I posted earlier, we have the Iranian president lambasting Britain for over 40 minutes before announcing that Iran was freeing the British sailors and marines in its custody. I guess that (and the medals he issued to the Revolutionary Guardsmen who captured the Brits) was putting the best face he could manage on an action that surely galled him.


If you look at Pelosi's photos while she is meeting with Assad, she is not wearing a headscarf. Nor is she while being saluted by a Syrian military officer. That is a message in and of itself which I'm glad Pelosi delivered. And she is not wearing a hijab -- a hijab covers, at a minimum, the entire hair and neck area (all the way around). A headscarf doesn't count as one.

If Pelosi's a really smart Catholic, she'll remember that Paul was blinded whilst on the road to Damascus, and regained his sight once he arrived there; of course, Paul saw the right people in Damascus, which is unclear in Pelosi's case. Evil is often honey-tongued.

And, docjim505, I don't think Lt. Col. McSally has the right stuff. Those orders are for her protection in a foreign land innately hostile to women. If she can't stand the heat, she should get out of the kingdom, because there is nothing the US can do about Saudi internal affairs, including the Mutawwa, short of invasion. She may be a great squadron commander, but in terms of putting up with what cannot be changed, she has a long way to go. Personally, I suspect she has now dropped off the promotion list, and no lawsuit will get her back on.

Posted by onlineanalyst [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 8:07 PM

Granted and agreed about following protocol in a house of worship, Captain Ed. Speaker Pelosi, as has been pointed out, continued to wear the hijab outside the confines of the mosque.

The Reform Party of Syria was not pleased, issuing the following statement:

"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.

"Assad could not have been happier because Syrian women, seeing a US official confirming what their husbands, the Imams in the Mosques tell them, and the society at large imposes on them through peer pressure will see in her wearing a Hijab as a confirmation of the societal pressures they are constantly under. No one will ever know how many women took the Hijab on after seeing Pelosi wearing it. The damage Speaker Pelosi is causing with her visit to Syria will be felt for many years to come."


Determining foreign policy is a Constitutionallydefined power and prerogative of the executive branch. Speaker Pelosi undermines our nation's stance towards terror-sponsoring states by her brazen and impolitic behavior.

Would a President Hillary Clinton tolerate a Speaker Nancy Pelosi working at odds with executive policy?

Posted by Jon Prichard [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 8:25 PM


You're right that orders for women in Saudi Arabia are for their own protection, so-called. But then, that is the exact effect of dhimmitude isn't it? Islam demands subjugation of entire societies under threat of violence. In polite society this is known as bullying. At almost any level you don't counteract bullies by surrendering, you face them straight up.

Those men in Saudi Arabia hate the women no matter what they wear, especially Western women. Hiding them behind religious garb validates the bullying ways.

There was a time when US service people weren't allowed to wear a uniform off base for fear of attack (in the US and in foreign lands). This was during the Carter administration. When Reagan came into office the regulation was changed to 'must' wear a uniform off base. Attacks against military personnel went DOWN after the change.

It simply does no good to appease bullies in any arena.

Posted by Bitter Pill [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 8:26 PM

hey conceited democrat, I don't believe idiot senators ever went to China or Russia to negotiate foreign policy.


Posted by Bennett [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 8:32 PM

I don't think we should be so hard on Mrs. Pelosi here; she has no expertise in foreign affairs, doesn't speak either Hebrew or Arabic and probably has very little familiarity with the intricacies and nuances of diplo-speak in any language. Presumably the same is true for her staff people. I'm sure she thought that making nice conversation and using the peace word a lot is all that would be expected of her in these circumstances.

In any event, her trip was intended for domestic consumption here and from what I can tell it has been favorably reported in the American media and I'm sure well received by the Democratic base as a poke in the President'e eye. This is what the country wanted, right? When the Democrats were voted into power last November. Unserious people mucking about in serious matters. Well, the Democrats are delivering on that quite nicely, I think.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:06 PM


In places with a Muslim government, you are subject to dhimmitude, and must bear it. I would expect that as a squadron commander, McSally would (a) deploy with her unit, and (b) subject herself, whenever off-base, to local ordinances without complaint.

We Americans have this naive expectation that other countries will allow us the same rights we have here. Any person crossing into Mexico is foolish if they don't understand Napoleonic Law (you are guilty until proven innocent).

Remember that female soldier driving a truck during the first phase of the Iraq War who decked a Saudi male civilian when he tried to pull her from her vehicle?

She handled one civilian -- if there had been four or five, the story might have been different, and there would have been little the US could have done except, after the fact, to file a diplomatic complaint.

We are trying to make the world into America one little piece at a time. It is not yet Saudi Arabia's turn.

Posted by chsw [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:01 PM

Let's give Pelosi a little credit for crossing herself in a mosque which was made from one of the oldest cathedrals. Originally, Damascus' Ummayyad mosque was dedicated to John the Baptist, who many faithful Christians believe is buried there.


Posted by Karen [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 1:13 AM

This woman continues to astonish me with her innate stupidity. Her total arrogance to try to overrun the constitutional separation between the executive and legislative branch just disgusts me. However, she should keep this up. She will turn the Dems into a permanent minority ever more quickly than most people think.

Posted by The Mechanical Eye [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 1:53 AM

I admit liking Pelosi's attitude for diplomacy over Bush's. Its more realistic.

But its not *her job*, pains me to say it. The Speaker has power over appropriation, lawmaking, and oversight.

Direct diplomacy simply is not in her job description.

The Speaker can do a lot of arm-twisting at home, as I hope she does. She does not need to go to Syria to do that.


Posted by nberio [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 2:05 AM

Pelosi was right .
Since the Democrats singlehandedly eliminated Terror and Terrorism the Israeli`s no longer have an excuse not ot negotiate with Syria.

Posted by Cybrludite [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 4:02 AM


"I fully understand the concept of 'doing as Romans do when in Rome' but do we have to participate in orgies too?"

I don't think I've ever seen "When in Rome..." used in a non-debauchery related sense. Usually it's shorthand for, "Well, back in Topeka I wouldn't be getting frisky in public like these other people, but this is (spriing break destination of choice) and..." The folks who make those Gals Gone Wacky videos have made a mint off the concept. Heck, I should link y'all to some of the pics I've taken at sci-fi convention room parties, but I think the good Captain disapproves of such material.

Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 5:13 AM


You know, I never got invited to *those* parties either ...

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 5:32 AM

Pelosi has made a fool of herself again, that would not be so bad if she did not have to drag the whole country along with her.

I read this from Michael Hadden:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to be confused about the office she holds. She is the speaker, not the president. She is traveling in the Middle East, and intends to go to Syria with "great hope" for reviving U.S. relations with that nation, the Associated Press reports.

That is not her role. Article II, section 2 of the Constitution grants treaty making power to the president, and ratification to the Senate. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., which is still the law of the land, made it clear that:

"In this vast external realm (of foreign affairs), 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."

The speaker is getting ahead of herself. We only have one president at a time in this country.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 5:48 AM

The above quote should be credited to Jeffrey Hadden, ,not Michael. I apologize profusely for my error.

Posted by Cybrludite [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:14 AM

Cap'n Ed,

Looks like I'll be throwing a room party at Libertycon in Chattanooga this summer. You're more than welcome to attend... ;-)

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:38 AM

stupid is as stupid does............

.in the lexicon of the street, nancy is just another political ho catering to her two constituencies-- elitists and high school dropouts. situational ethics and moral equivalency are the tools of her trade. neither can work if a person possesses a set of core beliefs.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 8:27 AM

Regarding Col. McSally, both unclesmrgol and Jon Prichard raise good points. I especially agree with Jon Prichard's point about dhimmitude.

Ultimately, however, I have to side with Col. McSally and give her kudos for being (ahem) ballsy. I find it outrageous that a US officer should be required to act like a meek chattle-slave in the interests of not "offending" a country that, by any standards, is a brutish, backward thugocracy. I'm equally disgusted with the implicit notion that muslim men cannot be expected to give a woman any respect, and, to the contrary, can be expected to try to harm her just because she doesn't cringe at their feet like a whipped cur.

Good for Col. McSally for not lying down and taking it.

Posted by Al_Maviva [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 2:51 PM

She wasn't just wearing a head covering.

She was wearing an abaya, the neck-to-toe black bag of those who are fard, or compliant with sharia.

A head covering would have been respectful. The abaya... that set me off. Sorry, it's a wee bit over the top.

On the positive side of the coin, she and Darrell Issa (R-CA) can trade tips on how to get falafel-smelling brown matter off their noses. I'm embarassed by both of them, and their free-lance foreign policy meddling. Hey, maybe they can stop in Iraq on the way home and tell the NCO's how to do a better job with counterinsurgency tactics...