Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pelosi takes a Baath; Bush says it's dirty

Today President Bush had harsh words for Speaker Pelosi, currently visiting the Assad government in Syria. It seems that in Bush's estimation a visit from a high-ranking--though not all that powerful--representative of the US government is likely to make the Baathists in Syria believe that they are part of the main-stream of nations. I suppose it didn't do that when we rendered suspects to Syria for questioning.
Bush is right to point out that Syria is a a "state sponsor of terrorism", but in the real world we deal with Russia, another such state sponsor of terror and a recently-avowed practitioner of assassinations in foreign countries. We also deal with the Saudis, the funders of Wahhabi and Salafi mosques around the world. And, seriously, it's probably a little late to be washing our hands of Syria after we've used their intelligence services over the last five years.

17 comments:

RottweilerTOM said...

OK first you steal my football pants, now you steal my topic and write more intelligently.

I agree with you, however the difference is the Speaker should not make side trips, no matter how naively she thinks of her trip, w/o our foreign policy hawks at State or in the White House at least have forewarn knowledge - I will bet you mateo that she's on Syrian televison with commentary from their press of evidence of how screwed up our policy is in the middle east - just like the Iranians did to the Brits.

Tyler said...

The problem is that Republican lawmakers have been taking junkets to Syria for the last several months and nary a peep out of the White House about any of them. But let a Democrat do it, and suddenly the US foreign policy is undercut.
For those of you following, you have to pretend as if the US had a foreign policy and not just one old album by Foreigner and a target with a picture of the Iron Sheik of 1980s wrestling fame.
It's great to have a Secretary of State whose area of expertise is the Soviet Union. Next we'll find one who specializes in the Austro-Hungarian Empire

RottweilerTOM said...

yes but in concert with admin officials. Pelosi is a San Francisco liberal with the same tenacity as Jimmy Carter, and yes..I am afraid, very very afraid if someone of similar weak constitution enters the Oval Office come 2009, and thats the whole issue here..pelosi f'ing bush. (Not to say that being a san Francisco liberal is bad, but I'll take a liberal Giuliani over a liberal Pelosi ANYDAY!)

Tyler said...

But, the administration can't have a policy where it allows its allies and only its allies to visit Syria and expect it to even appear to be a principled policy.
In any case, NOW the administration says it doesn't even like it when Republican lawmakers go to Syria. We can leave aside for the moment that the ruling class--including Assad--of Syria are members of the Alawites, not considered Muslims by either Shiites or Sunnis, thus unlikely to give support to al-Qaeda or militant Shiites. We can also ignore the fact that the Iraq Commission itself said that we should be talking to Syria.
The point is that Bush can't have it every possible way and with Democrats in control of Congress, he won't
So, you'd prefer a man who knew about Kerik's ties to organized crime before making him police commissioner, who announced to his second wife via a press conference that he was divorcing her, claimed not to know through more than a dozen years of marriage that his first wife whom he had vacationed with as a child was actually his cousin, to Nancy Pelosi. Okay, that's your prerogative.
If he hadn't happened to be mayor of New York on 9/11, he wouldn't stand a chance. As it is, he can't possibly get the Republican nomination and can anyone recall the last third-party candidate to win?
My big problem with Rudy is that when things go wrong for him, either personally or politically, it's never his fault. He may be a liberal--for a Republican--but we've had 8 years (at least) of people not owning up to mistakes. It's time for something else.

RottweilerTOM said...

So, you'd prefer a man who knew about Kerik's ties to organized crime before making him police commissioner, who announced to his second wife via a press conference that he was divorcing her, claimed not to know through more than a dozen years of marriage that his first wife whom he had vacationed with as a child was actually his cousin, to Nancy Pelosi. Okay, that's your prerogative.
If he hadn't happened to be mayor of New York on 9/11, he wouldn't stand a chance. As it is, he can't possibly get the Republican nomination and can anyone recall the last third-party candidate to win?

All True. Except u need enlightenment:

1)Kerik is NOT tied to organized crime. If he was tied in a sense that his direct buddy was working for a Capo of the Gambinos (like the two mafia cops indicted last year I believe) then I would say a conflict Rudy should distance himself completely. Was there any scandel while he was Commiss? No. But Kerik is not tied that way, and deserves the benefit of the doubt;

2)His second wife was a emotional mess, (look at his son) but I think there were media issues that prompted Giuliani to do that before the NY POST made the headlines, anyway Andrew supports his dad;

3)You are convinced that the Republican electorate in primaries are right-wing conversatives, which is very true however I am more convinced that there is enough distribution of the looney-tune vote that Giulani can survive, and every poll indicates that either Giuliani can overcome that vote, or these evangelicals will sit home, either way game, set, match to Rudy. Because Mitt nor Sam nor any other right-winger are NOT electable in a general, you may seem some flip the switch for Rudy simply because of that. (then again, the religious right are quite dogmatic {DUMB}.)

4) As to 9/11, obviously that is what elevated him. Still, as I remember and recall when walking from my office through Times Square to Penn Station in the early to mid 90's(at least his image before 9/11)was his extreme competence dealing with NY's two huge issues, keeping business free from burdensome City and State taxation and crime. He cleaned up both ends and made NY amenable to papa billy joe and mama lorri jean visiting NYC without fear of being mugged. You don't carry that image into your equation aside from 9/11.

5) Rudy has ALWAYS been an opportunist. Going back to his U.S. Attorney days busting Paul Castellano and Anthony Ducks and Fat Tony. That was unheard of from any NYer's perspective - ending mob business as it once was. The difference is he's a competent opportunist versus an political candidate from the boring yet incompetent status quo.

6) Oh yes, his first wife was a second or third cousin. So what.

7) Lastly, and something you completely disregard cause you have no idea, I was a paid staffer to the Ron Lauder Campaign for mayor back when you were considering going to the senior prom with Mike or Tracy out in the cornfields, so I intimately got to see how a candidate survived a 16 million dollar negative raping of his character by Lauder (the same Lauder who recently purchased a painting for $135,000,000.)

Among the field both Rep or Dem, he is the only one whom impresses me the most. And yes, I think some of his achievements have been hyperbolic, still, so what, what else is there? At least he is not a lying snake like Hillary. Do you blame me?

Tyler said...

Well, apparently Kerik lived in an apartment paid for by mafia-tied contruction workers. And, given your own tendency to get upset at any and all connections between the Church and the mafia, I don't know why Kerik gets the benefit of the doubt.
The issue with the first wife is not about her being his second cousin. It's that he was surprised to learn after 12 years of marriage that she was his cousin. This was the reason he gave for ending the marriage and being entitled to an annulment. Oh, my marriage wasn't a failure--I never knew she was my cousin. That shows an amazing lack of character. Just admit that it didn't work, that you, Rudy Guliani, fucked up.
The same with the second marriage. A man deals with it by telling her that it's over. Not by having a press conference. And, he now admits that he didn't tell her beforehand. That's, how you say, classy.
I am not saying, by the way, that he was not a good mayor. Or, that he doesn't have good administrative skills. What he knows about foreign policy, I'm not so sure about. And, whether the lessons he learned in New York translate anywhere else, I'm suspicious of. For instance, though his firm promised Mexico City that it could work the same miracle there, it still isn't safe to walk down the streets.
The religious right are anything but dumb. If they were, they wouldn't be so scary.

Tyler said...

For what it's worth, that's all I'll say about Rudy for now. I'm sure I'll have something more to say as the campaign progress.

Gilad said...

Tyler, Assad does support militant shiites - Hezbollah, and has supported them for a long long time. Certainly it is not for ideological reasons but rather to help solidify control of Lebanon.
I think visits like these (by either Democrats or Republicans) make Syria believe it is more in the mainstream and can therefore play both sides, which will ultimately lead (IMHO) to more assassinations like that of Hariri.

Tyler said...

I don't, or shouldn't have, if I did, deny that he supports terrorists of various stripes and for the vary reasons you say, Gilad. Syria sees it as their right to control Lebanon and, at least part of Israel. And this makes them a serious threat in the region. So, I wholly agree with you about the danger of Assad and Syria. And, in any case, I have to defer to you in these matters, since you have a much more vested interestin what goes on in that region.
But, initially my point was that Bush's objection to Pelosi's visit to Syria--a visit on which she is guaranteed to look alternately silly and out of her depth, with moments of looking like a dictator's patsy--is not and cannot be a principled objection based on foreign policy objectives. If it were, he would have said something when his political allies were going there. But at that time, he was silent. He didn't. It didn't matter then. It matters now. Why? Because Bush only cares about politics. Or, at least that is how it seems.
In addition, we have been perfectly happy to use Syria's intelligence services and prisons to "interrogate" suspects in the war on terror. This, to my way of thinking, shows more respect for the regime than a visit from Pelosi. Moreover, it belies our objections to their very real human rights abuses.
Finally, I don't know what we ought to do about Syria. It seems that Bush is saying our policy ought to be to pretend it doesn't exist. We can't invade them. We played that card and our bluff hasn't gone to well. And, Bush, contrary to the pragmatists in foreign policy circles, suggests that, with Iran, we cannot talk to them. We were wrong in thinking that Assad fil would not survive long in the government. So, that means that we treat them as the big Baathist elephant in the room.
I know that it is distasteful to hold any kinds of talks with them. But more than five years of ignoring North Korea has not made them less of a threat. Ignoring Iran didn't make it more moderate.
And, we talk to all sorts of people that are really quite evil--thus my mentioning of Putin (Bush may have seen the goodness of his soul but his actions are not so fine) and Saudi Arabia. Diplomacy doesn't allow that we can only talk to people who are virtuous. Even countries outside the mainstream are countries that must be dealt with, because they are there. And I don't think that not talking to Assad increases the security of either Lebanon or Israel, nor do I think it makes him less likely to support insurgencies in Iraq. Isolation doesn't make countries better.

Tyler said...

Just for clarification, "state sponsor of terrorism" was in quotes in the original post because it was a (mis)quote. It should have been "state sponsor of terror". I was not indicating some sort of irony or questioning of whether they were really such sponsors. I was merely quoting the President.

Gilad said...

I agree with you that Bush's objective in this regard is both hypocritical and politicized (but then what has he ever done that was not? - does anyone even take him seriously anymore except Bill O'Reilly?), and also that there is no way Pelosi will emerge from this looking anything but silly.

Tyler said...

See, there is something we can agree on. And that's reassuring in this, the season of Passover for you and hoppy bunnies (and that Jesus guy) for me.
And I think we probably all agree that Pelosi will come off, at best, looking clownish. At worst, she will come off looking like Hanoi Jane.
However, we let our Congressmen and Senators travel in semi-official capacities all over the place, mostly so that they can say clearly false things, viz., John McCain's pronouncements on Iraqi security from this past weekend.
One thing I don't want to sound insensitive to is the threat that Syria poses to both Lebanon and, largely but not entirely through Lebanon, to Israel.

Gilad said...

on behalf of the people that walked from slavery to freedom this season (for 40 friggin years), we appreciate it.
I don;t know if you saw the picture of Pelosi with the head-scarf on (from when she visited a mosque) but people are already having a field-day. I also agree with you that isolation is not necessarily the answer, but engagement has not seemed to prove itself either - it certainly hasn;t pursuaded Iran to do anything different, except manipulate it to buy time. Perhaps the cooperation with Russia and Saudi Arabia has prevented them from becoming more extreme?

Tyler said...

The lesson--never ask an Israelite for directions in the desert.

Gilad said...

certainly not one that uses a column of fire in the sky as a navigational tool.
Happy Easter and Shabbat Shalom.

RottweilerTOM said...

Happy Easter Tyler & Fernando & Mateo. Don't forget your Easter Bonnet.

RottweilerTOM said...

Tyler I know that the word Easter came from German orgins but can you explicate further the meaning of the word itself and how it got taken by the christians or is it a german name for something relative to the Resurrection??? I feel dumb here please elaborate for me and enya. Thanks