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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spot the tool

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Syria

This photo — with the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in the center — is from the Syrian Arab News Agency (h/t Michael Rubin on The Corner). Notice the composition.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Syria

Cropped and enlarged version. Notice the body language. Who is the supplicant, eager to give up something, anything, to gain the other's approval?

This photo might as well be titled: "Just Hang On Until January 2009."

In fact, that's the title that this photo might be given by both the Syrian Arab News Agency and the Democratic National Committee, if they were candid (which neither is, of course).

If you were a clear-eyed student of both history and fables, you could, I suppose, caption it: "Frog (left) 'negotiating' river crossing with scorpion (right)."

Or you could boil it down to one word, representing what the Syrians must be privately thinking:


Posted by Beldar at 06:18 AM in Global War on Terror | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Spot the tool and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) nk made the following comment | Apr 4, 2007 12:11:23 PM | Permalink

It's always fair weather when old foggies get together. Except that the old foggies San Fran Nan is shmoozing up to almost without doubt were participants in the Hama massacre. I can taste their contempt for her and for a people who would make her third in line for the Presidency.

(2) LazyMF made the following comment | Apr 4, 2007 12:59:38 PM | Permalink

What has she given up? Isn't she just following the advice of James Baker?

(3) nk made the following comment | Apr 4, 2007 1:01:36 PM | Permalink

P.S. Thank you for the h/t and picture.

(4) nk made the following comment | Apr 4, 2007 6:52:19 PM | Permalink

What has she given up? This for starters.

(5) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Apr 4, 2007 8:33:47 PM | Permalink

fascinating link.

(6) Beldar made the following comment | Apr 4, 2007 9:23:50 PM | Permalink

LazyMF, my friend, besides the opportunity to cloak themselves for propaganda purposes in undeserved dignity associated with her office, Speaker Pelosi has already given the Syrians (and, indirectly, the Iranians and every terrorist organization active in the Middle East and Southwest Asia) all that she has in her present power to give — a House vote to cut and run. It won't become law, and she won't be in a position to give away much more, until January 2009, if her party retains control of both chambers of Congress and if it captures the White House.

She is doing everything she can to embarrass the POTUS, and that's deliberate. She's doing as much as she can to undermine our national interests in Iraq and elsewhere, although I will grant you that in her confused and craven state of mind, she thinks she's promoting American interests and/or "world peace and harmony."

Baker-Hamilton urged a sort of nonspecific "engagement" with no clear goal — nothing more clear than the sort of "conferences" that Kerry promised during the 2004 election. Our enemies are not going to be talked out of being our enemies. Syria in particular may be amenable to persuasion, but if so, it will be fear rather than goodwill that motivates its tyrant-leaders. The American message to Syria right now needs to be delivered with one clear voice, through the mechanism that the Constitution envisions (i.e., the Executive, including its sub-units at the Departments of Defense and State). The American message needs to include air strikes on every field mouse that crosses the Syrian-Iraqi border without the okay of the Iraqi government; and it needs to include hot pursuit strikes back into Syrian territory and targeted strikes if terrorist training camps or arms depots can be identified there. It needs to include covert efforts to destabilize the Syranian tyrants. Only after the stick has been vigorously and unambiguously applied, with the stick still close at hand and our willingness to increase its use re-confirmed, can we then dangle a carrot or two.

These are bad, bad people. They will behave as badly as we permit them to.

Speaker Pelosi's visit is a step in the wrong direction. And it implies a GIANT LEAP in the wrong direction when and if her party gains control of the White House; nothing could be more heartening to our enemies than that prospect.

(7) Gary Denton made the following comment | Apr 5, 2007 2:31:44 AM | Permalink

Did I miss your posting pictures of the GOP representatives in Syria Sunday?

(8) Beldar made the following comment | Apr 5, 2007 3:54:29 AM | Permalink

Mr. Denton, neither GOP nor Democratic members of Congress have any business meeting with the government of Syria. I don't believe that the Bush Administration encouraged or expressed approval of the visits you refer to. There is no shortage of Republican mullets either — Chuck Hegel, for example, being among the biggest idiots in government today. I do not defend the Republicans who've been visiting Syria either (and note that their having done so is just about the only justification the Pelosi camp has offered up for her visit).

But the visit of a Congressman or Senator or two has only a fraction of the public relations value that the Syrians found in the visit by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who's third in line for the Presidency.

In the immortal words of Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Nancy Pelosi is abusing hers.

(9) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Apr 5, 2007 10:02:00 AM | Permalink

My local right wing rag, the WaPo may be liberal, but they have some level of understanding and competence.

Smack! Oh, that's got to sting :)

(10) LazyMF made the following comment | Apr 5, 2007 3:52:26 PM | Permalink

Are the Baathist leaders currently leading Syria bad people? Sure. Make no mistake though, Israel and the U.S. would much rather deal with them than the group that will take over Syria if the Baathists fall - The Muslim Brotherhood. Baker's foreign policy and diplomacy has had much better results than the Bush II diplomacy/foreign policy. I'm glad Pelosi and other congressional Republicans are at least opening dialogue.

(11) Mark L made the following comment | Apr 6, 2007 8:24:39 AM | Permalink

LazyMF, the Baathist leaders currently leading Syria are the ones that established what are known as Hama Rules for dealing with internal dissent. One fine day they surround the Syrian town of Hama with armor, then proceeded to level the town of 50,000, killing everyone they saw moving -- man, woman, or child. *That* is how they run things.

And the Muslim Brotherhood would be worse than that, how?

(12) Kent made the following comment | Apr 6, 2007 1:30:08 PM | Permalink

"Spot the tool"

You misspelled "fool."

(13) Beldar made the following comment | Apr 6, 2007 4:17:21 PM | Permalink

LazyMF, I agree with you that the U.S. would be better off dealing with the current Syrian regime than with some of the likely forces who might fill any vacuum created by their collapse.

Syria is a state actor. It's not nearly as irrational a state actor as, for example, North Korea. Its current leaders want to stay in power. They care nothing for reason, morality, liberty, or Nancy Pelosi (or, granted, George W. Bush either). They care about themselves.

That's precisely why they need to be "dealt with" using a single policy voice and unequivocal sticks and carrots. They will respond to carrier groups, not pants suits.

The good news of her visit, if there is any, is that the Syrians almost certainly know that Pelosi's and the Dems' power is mostly still waiting in the wings. But she has handed them a public relations coup — dumped it into their laps — out of her own eagerness to undercut the Bush Administration.

"Opening dialog" is a naive phrase and concept in this context. We and the Syrians know how to communicate; they know that if they really want to move the main instruments of our discussion away from F/A-18 Hornets and into the hands of Foggy Bottom diplomats, they need only clean up their own act.

"Let's have a committee — better yet, a commission!" James Baker used to know better than that, and I actually hope that secretly he still does. Such diplomatic success as he enjoyed with hostile regimes came from the fact that they were terrified of, and believed fully in the resolve of, his principals (especially the Gipper).

(14) Beldar made the following comment | Apr 6, 2007 4:20:18 PM | Permalink

(Yes, I know "carrier groups, not pants suits" is more than vaguely sexist. It just sang to me too much to not use it. To the very limited extent Speaker Pelosi's sex is genuinely relevant to any of these issues, I tend to think it's useful for American interests, as is Secretary of State Rice's. Only one of them is legitimately entrusted with the responsibility of negotiating with foreign governments, however, whether they're in pants suits, ball gowns, or gym shorts.)

(15) Random Numbers made the following comment | Apr 7, 2007 3:11:14 AM | Permalink

Dangit! After a wonderfully thoughtful comment you just HAD to give me an image of Pelosi in gym shorts!


Excuse me while I go wash my brain with Clorox Ultra.

(16) nk made the following comment | Apr 7, 2007 11:49:24 PM | Permalink

"Yes, I know "carrier groups, not pants suits" is more than vaguely sexist...."

She's not just a woman. She's an old woman. Let her sit in her rocking chair and complain querulously that her feet and her tea are too cold and her toast too hard for her dentures. But let her STAY OUT OF DECISIONS THAT WILL AFFECT MY CHILD. We need to amend the Constitution to provide a mandatory retirement age. To paraphrase a Chinese quotation: When politicians get that old without being put out to pasture they become more than a nuisance -- they become dangerous.

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