President George Bush charges that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's trip this week to Syria was undermining U.S. foreign policy. He's absolutely correct. If ever there was an administration whose foreign policy needed undermining, it's the Bush/Cheney duo. Speaker Pelosi, the third ranking government official, and a remarkably capable lady, is doing all Americans a service.
The republic's founding fathers were deeply worried a future president might run amok or make himself an absolute ruler. The primary constitutional architecture of the U.S. government is designed to thwart such dangers through a brilliant system of checks and balances.
Congress was created as the premiere branch of government to express the voice of the American people. Its leaders have the duty and every legal right to intervene when they see the executive branch leading the nation over a cliff and repeatedly violating the Constitution.
So Nancy Pelosi was right to ignore Bush's narrow-minded refusal to talk to Syria. She went to meet President Bashar al-Asad in Damascus. Interestingly, Pelosi was joined by some of the leading members of the pro-Israel lobby in Congress.
Pelosi arrived in Damascus at a crucially important moment. The Arab League just unanimously reaffirmed its historic offer to Israel of full recognition and permanent peace in exchange for a withdrawal to Israel's 1967 borders, sharing Jerusalem, and some kind of compensation or resettlement of 4.5 million Palestinian refugees. This is essentially the same plan proposed to Bush by the respected Iraq Study Group in Washington.
Never have Israel and its neighbours been closer to peace. But instead of backing this dramatic opening, Bush and Cheney are clearly preparing to launch an air war against Iran, and have been urging Israel to attack Syria and Lebanon. Pelosi's opening to Syria comes at this crucial moment.
The need for Congress to alter the direction of Bush's ruinous foreign policies were shockingly displayed in a recent BBC/University of Maryland survey that should be required reading for every American.
Disturbing the peace
Surveying 26,000 respondents in 25 different nations, the study (that included Americans) found the dominant view was the U.S. is playing a "mainly negative" role in the world. Two thirds believed the U.S. military presence in the Mideast is stoking conflicts.
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Most shocking, when respondents were asked which nations posed the greatest danger to world peace, or were most negatively regarded, the answer was a new "axis of evil": Israel, Iran and the United States.
Horrid North Korea came just ahead of the U.S.A. This is appalling, considering the hundreds of millions the U.S. government spends annually promoting its image abroad.
The world's most respected nation was Canada - constant target of scorn by U.S. conservatives - followed by France, Japan and the European Union.
This shattering report is about much more than a popularity contest. When the United States, not long ago regarded as a beacon of liberty, human rights, and democracy around the globe, finds itself most disliked, along with Israel and Iran, it's time for the alarms to go off.
It is precisely this surging worldwide anger against the U.S., notably over Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Bush's refusal to join the fight against global warming, that is fueling the violent anti-American groups Westerners call "terrorists." America's image abroad has become a vital matter of national security.
Reinvigorated left wing
The Bush/Cheney Administration's aggressive Darwinian policies, and Bush's lamentable persona, not only power anti-Americanism everywhere, they have restored and reinvigorated left wing parties around the globe.
It's too soon to tell if Nancy Pelosi's trip to Damascus bears fruit. But her visit came at the clear demand of America's majority that voted in the Democrats to make this disaster-prone administration change course. I can't think of a better antidote to Bush and Cheney than Speaker Pelosi. Too bad she's not running for president instead of Hillary Clinton.
Copyright © 2006, Canoe Inc.