Pelosi's foreign policy initiatives: Good ideas badly executed

By 1979, Saddam Hussein had completed his coup, taking over as president of Iraq. He was a man who was both feared and revered. As an autocrat, he made his own decisions, never needing to seek out the counsel of others. And these others recognized the price they would pay should they ever disagree with him.

Today in America, we have just such a person in a senior government leadership position, acting autocratically. First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1987, this member of Congress has continued to serve for three and a half decades. She became the first female speaker of the House in 2007 under President George W. Bush, stepping down from that position in 2011 when Republicans regained control of the House, only to reimpose herself upon the speakership a second time, in 2019, where she so serves today. When it comes to taking actions impacting upon our country’s foreign policy, she has proven to be a loose cannon regardless of whether the president in office was a Republican or a Democrat.

Three months after becoming speaker on Jan. 4, 2007, Pelosi was already knocking heads with Bush over U.S. foreign policy. She decided to go to Syria – a country that supported attacks by terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel, had created a revolving door for Iraqi militants in Syria to go into Iraq to undermine that fledgling democracy and was known to be involved in efforts to destabilize Lebanon. Pelosi announced that her intent in Syria was to meet with its dictator, President Bashar al-Assad.

Bush advised Pelosi not to make the trip as it would undermine administration efforts to isolate the hard-line Arab country. He was concerned too that such a visit would falsely signal that Assad’s government was part of the international mainstream. Furthermore, Assad had previously made promises to undertake certain actions to help stabilize the region, but always failed to do so.

Undeterred, Pelosi went anyway. Upon her return, she delivered encouraging words about Assad, saying he had assured her of his willingness to engage in peace talks with Israel. Fifteen years later, we have yet to see any such peace talks undertaken.

Despite having a member of her own political party in the Oval Office now, it appears Pelosi is still guided by her autocratic ways. The fact that she now announces she will be traveling to Taiwan – a decision not only President Joe Biden suggests is ill advised but so too does the military – would indicate she failed to discuss such a visit beforehand with Biden. Clearly, with tensions brewing between the U.S. and China over the island nation’s continuing independence, nothing unnecessarily should be done to rock the boat.

To her credit, Pelosi has long been a critic of China which, obviously, has not endeared her to the regime there. She once unfurled a banner on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to memorialize the 1989 bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and also supported the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. She undoubtedly sees her making a visit to Taiwan now as delivering a slap in the face to Beijing.

Regardless of this, however, out of party loyalty, especially when Democrats do not hesitate to criticize fellow Democrats for acting independently, she should have quietly requested authorization from Biden to make the trip before announcing she would. This has resulted in China now threatening “strong measures” in retaliation should she do so. While both Biden and the military have now publicly criticized Pelosi’s trip decision, canceling it will score a small victory for China as its bravado will be viewed as having caused a course change by the speaker.

Pelosi has needlessly and senselessly poked the Chinese dragon which now threatens an “extremely serious” attack against the U.S. military at a time we have a totally inept president in office to deal with such confrontation. (Ironically, this is the same China that then presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2019 dismissed as posing any kind of a threat.) She has left us in a no-win situation in which we will either lose face by backing down or quite possibly lose American lives by not doing so.

Not content to rile up China alone, it appears Pelosi may have taken additional action without consulting Joe, seeking to impact our foreign policy against Russia as well.

In a phone call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Pelosi warned should the State Department fail to take steps to identify Russia as a sponsor of terrorism, Congress would do so. The State Department’s authority to declare rogue nations as state sponsors of terrorism was a power Congress imbued to it several years earlier. Pelosi purportedly told Blinken, and rightly so, that Russia is “far overdue” in being so designated. But, as one critic points out, such a designation “introduces risk into any interaction with Russia.”

Good ideas demand good execution to remain good ideas. This principle was never of any concern to Saddam Hussein whose major focus was mostly on executing political opponents.

While this writer has often been in disagreement with Pelosi’s actions, her ideas concerning actions against China and Russia are admittedly good ones.

Nonetheless, her execution leaves a lot to be desired. Clearly in times of such tensions between the U.S. and China as well as the U.S. and Russia, execution of ideas involving them need to be closely coordinated with the serving president, regardless of party affiliation. Not only is it a courtesy owed the office, the advice given by that office also rates serious consideration as the lives of our military could needlessly be put in harm’s way without such coordination. Unfortunately, an autocratic Pelosi failed to grasp the basic understanding that even a good idea badly executed is a bad idea.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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