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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 11:33 AM
Original message
Bush, Rice, Pelosi, Syria, diplomacy , "mixed signals" and hypocrisy!
Edited on Tue Nov-27-07 11:56 AM by ProSense
From Think Progress:

The WSJs Bret Stephens recalls, when the House Speaker visited Syrian President Bashar Assad back in April, President Bush denounced her for sending mixed signals that lead the Assad government to believe they are part of the mainstream of the international community, when in fact they are a state sponsor of terror. Today, Assad will sit with Condoleezza Rice.

What Bush said:

Q You've agreed to talk to Syria in the context of the international conferences on Iraq. What's so different or wrong about Speaker Pelosi having her own meetings there? And are you worried that she might be preempting your own efforts?

THE PRESIDENT: We have made it clear to high-ranking officials, whether they be Republicans or Democrats, that going to Syria sends mixed signals -- signals in the region and, of course, mixed signals to President Assad. And by that, I mean, photo opportunities and/or meetings with President Assad lead the Assad government to believe they're part of the mainstream of the international community, when, in fact, they're a state sponsor of terror; when, in fact, they're helping expedite -- or at least not stopping the movement of foreign fighters from Syria into Iraq; when, in fact, they have done little to nothing to rein in militant Hamas and Hezbollah; and when, in fact, they destabilize the Lebanese democracy.

There have been a lot of people who have gone to see President Assad -- some Americans, but a lot of European leaders and high-ranking officials. And yet we haven't seen action. In other words, he hasn't responded. It's one thing to send a message; it's another thing to have the person receiving the message actually do something. So the position of this administration is that the best way to meet with a leader like Assad or people from Syria is in the larger context of trying to get the global community to help change his behavior. But sending delegations hasn't worked. It's just simply been counterproductive.


Rice Attacks Pelosi For Syria Trip Hours After Meeting With Syrians

The admin was determined to condemn Pelosi and the media began echoing the Bushies' talking points, so much so that Senator Kerry came to her defense: Supporting Speaker Pelosi

Now, the wingnuts at the WSJ aren't about to let Bush forget his hypocrisy, but it's still clear that they have no interest in diplomacy:

Condi's Road to Damascus

The price America will pay for her Syrian photo-op.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

Remember Nancy Pelosi's spring break in Damascus? Condoleezza Rice apparently does not. When the House Speaker paid Syrian strongman Bashar Assad a call back in April, President Bush denounced her for sending "mixed signals" that "lead the Assad government to believe they are part of the mainstream of the international community, when in fact they are a state sponsor of terror." Today, said sponsor of terror will take its place at the table Ms. Rice has set for the Middle Eastern conference at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Only at Foggy Bottom would Syria's last-minute decision to go to Annapolis be considered a diplomatic triumph. The meeting is supposed to inaugurate the resumption of high-level negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, with a view toward finalizing a deal on Palestinian statehood before the administration leaves office. On a deeper plane of geopolitical subtlety, it is supposed to bring Israel and the Arab world together in tacit alliance against Iran.

This raises three significant questions. First, how does Syria's presence at Annapolis affect those goals? Next, how does Syria's presence affect U.S. policy toward Syria? And what effect, if any, will all this have on Syria's behavior in the region?


Put simply, there is nothing the U.S. can offer Mr. Assad that would seriously tempt him to alter his behavior in ways that could meaningfully advance U.S. interests or the cause of Mideast peace. Yet the fact that Ms. Rice's Syria policy is now a facsimile of Speaker Pelosi's confirms Mr. Assad's long-held view that he has nothing serious to fear from this administration.
So look out for more aggressive Syrian misbehavior in Lebanon, including the continued arming of Hezbollah; the paralysis of its political process; the assassination of anti-Syrian parliamentarians and journalists; the insertion of Sunni terrorist cells in Palestinian refugee camps, and the outright seizure of Lebanon's eastern hinterlands. Look out, too, for continued cooperation with North Korea on WMD projects: Despite Israel's September attack on an apparent nuclear facility, the AP reports that North Korean technicians are back in Syria, teaching their Arab pupils how to load chemical warheads on ballistic missiles. And don't hold your breath expecting Syria's good behavior on its Iraqi frontier to last much longer.


Senator Kerry also addressed the situation in Lebanon after returning form a trip to the region in December 2006:

The key to Lebanon's future lies in getting Syria to truly respect Lebanese sovereignty. The money and weapons that empower Hezbollah come primarily through Syria, which uses proxies like Hezbollah to advance its hegemonic designs. They must be convinced to change course, including by ensuring that UN Resolution 1701 -- which again calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah -- is fully implemented.

To test the Syrians directly, as the Baker-Hamilton Commission suggested, Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and I met with President Bashar al- Assad for more than two hours. The conversation confirmed my belief that engagement with Syria could be useful in advancing our objectives across the region. The Syrian leadership will act according to its own self-interest. The challenge is to get Syria's leaders to make a strategic decision to change direction, and shift their allegiance away from Iran.

This requires a package of incentives that will provide real benefits for playing a more constructive role and disincentives that will undermine their interests -- if not endanger their survival -- if they do not. These would be implemented incrementally, based on verified facts on the ground.

This comprehensive approach, similar to the one used with North Korea and Iran, must include the full participation of moderate Arab countries like Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia -- which, like Syria, have largely Sunni populations -- as well as Turkey. There is no guarantee that this approach will save Lebanon and turn Syria into a positive force in the region -- but the current policy only guarantees more of the same.

Lebanon teeters on the brink of disaster -- but its leaders refuse to surrender. As Amine Gemayel, the former president of Lebanon, said in explaining why he is running to replace his son in Parliament, "We keep going. We keep fighting. We keep struggling." The question is whether we will be a real partner in this struggle.

So after another full year of Bush's no diplomacy policy, with Lebanon in crisis, he's making a big push for peace?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Will the results justify the pre-Annapolis boilerplate?

Are you wondering about the Annapolis meeting that will open this week? Will the meeting exceed the low expectations that now embrace it? The confab has already been downgraded from a conference to just a meeting. I have posted an authentic copy of the official boiler plate that has been circulated to U.S. diplomats. In other words, what you read is the language that has been crafted prior to the meeting by State department officials intent on convincing you, and me, that the Annapolis meeting is a bona fide step forward.

Were you the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, the political officer in El Salvador, the cultural affairs officer in Russia, the consular affairs officer in Poland, the economic attache in France or the State deparment spokesperson in Washington, this is the suggested language ("boilerplate") for responding to public inquiries and questions from the press about Annapolis.

On Edit: Well at least Bush is attempting appearing to engage in diplomacy, which he previously demonized, in an attempt to gloss over his legacy as the worst president ever!

Bush's Mideast legacy on the line at peace conference

By Ed Henry
CNN Washington Bureau

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (CNN) -- The stakes for President Bush in the Middle East peace process have never been higher.

That probably says less about the actual process and more about the fact the president has never been that much involved -- at least not until Tuesday's conference he's hosting with more than 40 nations from around the world.

Bush, who started his presidency deeply skeptical of getting too heavily engaged in the peace process, has a motive to get his hands dirty these days -- his legacy on the Mideast is under fire because of the war in Iraq.

Helping to broker a major peace deal in his final year could turn his fortunes in the history books, so now he's putting his weight behind the effort in a major way.

"Tonight I restate my personal commitment on behalf of the United States to all those in the Middle East who wish to live in freedom and peace," Bush said in a toast Monday night at a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "We stand with you at the Annapolis conference and beyond."


After seven years of failure, destroyed credibility, devastated lives, death and destruction because of his illegal war, Bush is going to try to play catch-up in less than a year! Idiot!

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. Well, we know why Bush is doing this,
and it has nothing to do with a sudden interest in diplomacy.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. If you're REALLY diabolical...
What if the Saudis, Kuwait, the UAL, etc... got together on one side and the US and the EU on the other and told the Palestinians and Israel, respectively, that this is what the New World Order needs right now to provide a distraction from what's really going on?

More visits to "Teh Axes of Eeeevul" and other enemies of our freedoms need to be undertaken by our Senators and Congresscritters in order to embarrass this administration every single day from here on out. Of course Nancy's visit to Syria was wrong, she went completely off the reservation and that probably threw a hell of a kink into their plans. The one and only thing I can commend her on over the past year.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. But there was absolutely nothing wrong with Pelosi's trip.
Congress has a job to do too, as Kerry points out:

If someone asks you about Nancy Pelosis trip to Damascus, you might want to start by telling them how many Republicans have traveled to Syria. That Arlen Specter has gone 16 times since 1984. Yes, this Republican outrage is selective. I didnt hear a whiff of criticism when a Republican Congressional delegation was in Damascus just last weekend. Calculated crocodile tears for political gain sad but not surprising.

More at Think Progress.

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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I was kidding. She went off the BushCo reservation with her trip.
More of them should follow her lead and set an example.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. Then there is the delusional:
WHY WAIT FOR ACTUAL RESULTS?....Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations. In the LA Times today, hawk's hawk Zev Chafets writes that today's Annapolis peace conference is a resounding vote of confidence in George Bush:

This is Bush's bash. His name is on the invitation. The party is at his place. The guests are strictly A-list. Every country that matters, and a lot that don't, will be represented. The European Union, the United Nations and the Arab League will be there too. They are all coming for the same reason: They have been summoned by the one man in the world to whom no one wants to say no.

It turns out that Bush, far from wrecking America's prestige and influence, has compounded it....Despite the assurances of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. has not been humiliated in Mesopotamia. On the contrary, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent determination of the American occupation have concentrated the minds of the (ever fewer) anti-American Arab despots.

Did you get that? Bush has compounded American prestige and influence, and the evidence is the mere fact that people are willing to show up at Annapolis. The last time I saw someone set a bar that low I was surrounded by a crowd of tipsy revelers while Chubby Checker blared "Limbo Rock" in the background.

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 06:17 PM
Response to Original message

Media: Pelosis Syria Diplomacy = Foolish; Bushs Syria Diplomacy = Victory

When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi traveled to Syria to visit President Bashar al-Assad last spring, the right wing immediately excoriated her diplomatic efforts.

President Bush said the trip sends mixed signals to the Assad government, and Dana Perino called the trip a really bad idea. Vice President Dick Cheney said Assads bad behaviors being rewarded. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) viciously accused Democrats of being so drunk with grandiose visions of deposing Bush that they break bread with terrorists and enemies of the United States.

The media picked up the conservative talking points and ran with them:

CNNs Suzanne Malveaux: Why should the Americans, or even the international community, see this any more as a political stunt here, a publicity stunt, a big wet kiss to President Al-Assad?

Washington Post Editorial Board: Ms. Pelosis attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.

Thomas Sowell of the Baltimore Sun: All that Ms. Pelosis trip can accomplish is to advertise American disunity to a terrorist-sponsoring nation in the Middle East while we are in a war there.

NBCs Matt Lauer: But if the Democrats and Speaker Pelosi appear to be acting irresponsibly or incompetently and lets face it, a lot of people think she messed up on this one whats the impact for Democrats overall?

Now that the Bush administration has come to its senses and invited Syria to become part of the solution in the Middle East, the media has missed the administrations reversal, instead praising Bushs victory in securing Syrias attendance:

New York Times: Syria announced Sunday that it would attend the Middle East peace meeting beginning here Monday night, joining Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab League participants in a turnabout that represented a victory for the Bush administration.



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fedupinBushcountry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
7. K&R
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 08:44 PM
Response to Original message
8. The Bush Touch: Turning Friends into Enemies

The Bush Touch: Turning Friends into Enemies

BY Scott Horton
PUBLISHED November 26, 2007

George W. Bush came to power on January 20, 2001. He inherited the most powerful military force ever assembled in human history, and the most significant system of military alliances that any nation had ever constructed. It would be wrong to say that this was the product of the Administration of Bill Clinton. More accurately, it was the result of a bipartisan tradition in foreign policy and defense planning that stretched back to the era of Truman. Bush, however, was intent on using foreign adventures as a partisan political tool to enhance his grip on the helm of state. And he had little patience for or interest in alliances. The theme of his seven years of foreign and defense policy has been unilateralism.

One by one the leaders on the world stage who put their faith in Bush and thoughtlessly did his bidding have fallen in disgrace, usually rejected by their own voters. The first to go were Italys Silvio Berlusconi and Spains Jos Mara Aznar. Then Britains Tony Blair was forced to surrender 10 Downing Street to his Chancellor of the Exchequer, to give Labour a fighting chance to hold a majority in the next election. In the last week, Jarosław Kaczyński, a conservative ally in Poland fell, and over the weekend, Bushs most faithful follower in the entire pack, the veritable boot-licker John Howard of Australia. In each case, the association with George W. Bush was electoral cyanide to voters back home.

Says former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, a man close to Bushs father and to Henry Kissinger, in a recent interview with Die Zeit, given the choice between Russias Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, hell opt for the man in the Kremlin. Bush 43 is just too dangerous.

When Bushs presidency is written up for the history books, one aspect will merit a special chapter, and that is the amazing alchemy by which Bush turned Americas staunchest allies around the world into disaffected onlookers, if not in fact enemies. He is gifted with the opposite of the diplomatic Midas touch.


Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican Primate, is not exactly a radical priest. Hes been solidly on the traditionalist side of the debates within the Anglican Communion on issues such as the ordination of women, the consecration of homosexuals as bishops and he has no equivocation in condemning abortion. But Williamss conservatism had led him repeatedly to question the wisdom of Prime Minister Blairs alignment with the United States in the War on Terror. And in an interview published this weekend, he unloaded. In fact, he called George W. Bushs America a threat to Christian civilization. The Sunday Times (London) reports:


Slideshow: Bush's disappearing alliance

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