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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Enemy of My Country Is My Friend

From Opinion Journal

What did Speaker Nancy Pelosi accomplish with her visit to Syria last month? The Washington Times does some man-on-the-street reporting in Damascus:

Many Damascus residents say her private visit with Mr. Assad and senior ministers shattered Washington's attempt to isolate the regime.

"She was enormously popular here, a hero," said one such resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "This is the best thing that has happened here, if it proves [Mr. Assad] was right not to give concessions."

Along with recent visits by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and officials from the European Union, the resident added, Mrs. Pelosi's trip "bolsters the regime with the Syrian people, and it shows that isolating Syria won't work." . . .

Mrs. Pelosi said she raised substantive issues with Syrian leaders, urging them to stop insurgents from entering Iraq, help win the release of Israeli soldiers thought to be held captive by Lebanese and Palestinian militias, and end Syria's support for terrorist groups.

But nobody talks about that now.

Of course Syria is not a free country. Thus man-on-the-street interviews are a gauge not of genuine public opinion but of what Syrians feel constrained to say--that is to say, of the regime's attitude. It appears Pelosi's visit, by presenting an image of America as divided and irresolute, strengthened Syria's determination to defy the U.S.--"not to make concessions," as the unnamed Damascene put it.

Why would Pelosi do such a thing? Perhaps she's merely naive. More likely, as the Hudson Institute's Lee Smith argues in The Weekly Standard, "the Democrats are playing a dirty game in the Middle East, where, just like Arab regimes, they are using proxies to wage war--except their war is against the Bush administration":

Read on.


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