Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Though she has come under much criticism from the White House for her visit to Syria this week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D, San Francisco) has put more pressure on Syria than the current administration has. She has gone face-to-face with the President of Syria and confronted him about his support of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. She has even gone to Saudi Arabia and questioned them on their refusal to allow women in politics.

While I’m not a fan of Pelosi, she has shown more international leadership in two days than President Bush has shown in seven years.

President Bush, who began isolating Syria when they refused to back his incursion into Iraq in 2003, has called the visit by Pelosi counter-productive. The President has often attempted to use the supposed “pressure” of diplomatic isolation during his time as President. He has refused to deal with Palestine, Syria, Iran, and North Korea. He has not seen much success:

– The Palestinians continue to refuse to recognize Israel, have moved closer to Iran and Syria, and the tensions between Israel and Palestinians continues to exist.
– North Korea tested a nuclear weapon.
– Iran continues its uranium enrichment program, continues to fund Hezbollah, and continues to help stir up fighting in Iraq.
– Syria has continued to fund Hezbollah and Hamas, and, during its isolation, drawn closer to Iran.

Back before World War II, the League of Nations was considered incredibly weak because one of the only forms of punishment it could incur was what was known as a “Diplomatic Sanction.” It was essentially regarded as a slap on the wrist, but it was all the League could do – part of the reason why the League was dissolved and the United Nations created in its stead.

Little has ever been accomplished by cutting off ties with a region. No progress was made with China until Nixon’s landmark visit in the 1970’s. Little progress was made with the USSR until the detente. Iran has been isolated since the 1970’s, and, by looks of it, that hasn’t worked.

How can you deal with a problem if you refuse to speak with those responsible. How can you broker peace if you refuse to speak with the other side?

In a political environment where the word “compromise” seems to have completely disappeared, the idea that we would not compromise in diplomacy seems inevitable. Our brusque attitude toward other countries, however, is hurting our global popularity. Our refusal to deal with potential threats to world security is being noticed by those in other countries, and as our popularity declines, another’s rises.


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