Between the do-nothing attitude of the British over the Iranian kidnapping of its sailors and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s unauthorized trip to the Syrian terror state, the West didn’t exactly do itself proud the last couple of weeks. Even as a hostage female British sailor was forced to don a Muslim head scarf for an Iranian propaganda film, Speaker Pelosi voluntarily wore one as she toured about the capital city of one of the Middle East’s most notorious terror-supporting states.

Just another day for the wishy-washy West whose stomach for a long drawn-out conflict to defeat terrorism is highly suspect. If that task ever gets handed over to the peaceniks, you might as well prepare for jihad to come to a neighborhood near you.

When I say “peacenik,” I mean someone like Nancy Pelosi, for instance, who, disdainful of President Bush’s policy of isolating Syria because of its blatant support of terrorism, deigned that a new foreign policy was in order, one more pleasing to the sensibilities of peace-loving and negotiation-minded Democrats. So she decided that a bit of unauthorized shuttle diplomacy was just the ticket and took off for the Middle East.

Working from the hackneyed cliché that you don’t negotiate peace with your friends but rather with your adversaries, Pelosi set out on what she thought to be an “excellent idea” and declared that she was hopeful of rebuilding lost confidence between Washington and Damascus.

“We have no illusions,” she said, “but we have great hope.”

That‘s peachy, Pelosi. Unfortunately, that statement is utterly illogical since the only way anyone could have “great hope” about altering Syria’s terrorist tendencies through talk would be to have the grandest illusions imaginable. Over recent decades, talk has been endless and, will wonders never cease, so has the terror. What possible words of wisdom could Pelosi convey to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to convince him that Israel has a right to exist and that there’s no future in being pals with the terror ayatollahs of Iran?

See, if these Middle Eastern despots were reasonable, peace-loving guys who yearned for a better life for their subjects, that region of the world wouldn’t be a strife-ridden mess from one end to the other. But stark reality never got in the way of a liberal Democrat’s delusions about palavering over peace. Pelosi, being from ultra-tolerant and open-minded San Francisco, sees guys like Assad as potential San Franciscans themselves who are merely in need of the proper coaxing and sweet-talking, which she considers herself the best qualified to deliver, being the first female Speaker of the House.

But with the exception of a handful of unreconstructed leftists and maybe a few leftovers from the Bay area’s famed 1967 “Summer of Love,” nobody else is buying it. Criticism of her “Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy” came from all sides, including the Washington Post, which hasn’t exactly been a cheerleader for the Bush doctrine. A Post editorial was peppered with words like “foolish,” “ludicrous” and “counterproductive.” It also astutely pointed out that “as any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off UN charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.”

I love it when the Washington Post talks tough to mushy-brained liberals like Pelosi! But wait, there‘s more. Just prior to Pelosi’s Syrian excursion, she visited Israel to see Prime Minister Olmert. Then, when she got to Syria, she told Assad that Israel was ready for peace talks. The only problem was Olmert never said that and, in fact, had just told Pelosi during her visit that he had the impression that there had been zero change in Assad’s position regarding a possible peace process with Israel.

Summing it up, the Post said: “In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel’s position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad’s words were mere propaganda.”

Ouch! That’s a rather stinging rebuke from one of the country’s leading mainstream liberal newspapers. And it got even worse (or better, depending on your viewpoint) from another quarter. Robert F. Turner, holder of a doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law, said in an op-ed piece in the Wall St. Journal that Pelosi’s trip to Syria constituted a violation of the Logan Act, which makes her mission not only foolish, but also a felony. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Logan Act makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, ‘without authority of the United States,’ to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government’s behavior on any ‘disputes or controversies with the United States.’”

Three years in the slammer for the nation‘s first lady Speaker and a noble seeker of peace in the Middle East? Whoa, let’s not get carried away here. Why, this Robert Turner has to be a right-wing, warmongering misogynist to even suggest such a– Oops. Actually, he was, among other things, the first President of the U.S. Institute of Peace, an official government institution dedicated to the cause of international peace. Anyway, she’ll never be prosecuted, of course. Unless . . .

Well, unless she were to keep right on committing the same felonious violations of the Logan Act. And lo and behold, it has already been reported that she and Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., are seriously mulling over the possibility of another diplomatic sojourn, this time to open a dialogue with Iran.

“I find the president of Iran’s remarks to be so repulsive that they are outside the circle of civilized human behavior,” the Speaker said, referring to his questioning of the validity of the Holocaust and his stated desire to wipe Israel off the map. “But . . . it’s important to have dialogue.”

Of course! Dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue. But when one country is the beacon of light, hope and progress for the world and the other country wants to impose another Dark Age — this time Islamic style — on the world, where does the “dialogue” begin? After agreeing on the delights of Persian cuisine, things are likely to get bogged down in a hurry.

Pelosi’s recent trip to the Middle East, besides apparently having been a felony, was an unmitigated disaster and disgrace from beginning to end. If she tries to pull the same thing again with another of America’s implacable enemies, she needs to have the cuffs slapped on her as soon as “Pelosi One” touches back down stateside.

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/

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