S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Women travel to the Middle East, men talk

Pelosi to speak and listen, over there - The headline, "US House leader to visit Syria" comes from Al Jazeera. The article covers the disagreement between the Speaker and the White House about the trip. Pelosi decided not to heed the adminitions of the administration's spokesman Sean McCormack. To quote from the story,
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, will shortly visit Syria, a country that the Republican administration has shunned as a state sponsor of terrorism, despite being asked by US officials not to go.
"In our view, it is not the right time to have these sort of high-profile visitors to Syria," Sean McCormack, state department spokesman, said on Friday. He said the state department tried to discourage Pelosi and the others from visiting Syria, but agreed to give their staff a pre-trip briefing.
. . . Ahmed Salkini. . . noted that three members from Bush's Republican party were currently in Syria. The three were visiting Syria on Friday and Saturday to discuss US-Syria relations and regional issues, a US embassy statement said. The representatives were Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Robert Aderholt, an Alabama Republican.
"Thrilled" by invite - According to the Washington Post, Speaker Pelosi was invited to speak to the Israeli parliament yesterday. To quote,
Pelosi will address the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, on Sunday and will also visit the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Her delegation includes Reps. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the House's only Muslim lawmaker; Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.); Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.); and David L. Hobson (R-Ohio).
. . . Pelosi's trip has been in the works for several weeks, an aide said. In a March 13 address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the speaker said that Dalia Itzik, Israel's acting president and Knesset speaker, had "invited me to address the Knesset. . . . This invitation alone is one of the great thrills of my official life."
Condoleezza Rice travels the Middle East - The U.S. Secretary of State has become more assertive about the use of shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East in recent months. It has been a very long time in coming, unfortunately, but certainly not too late to have chances at success. Helene Cooper's news analysis for the International Herald Tribune is headlined "Rice's diplomatic style looks increasingly Clintonian."
Just hours before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice boarded her plane 10 days ago to fly to the banks of the Nile for Middle East peace talks, a reporter asked her whether she was prepared to advance her own proposals to the Israelis and Palestinians on the entrenched "final status" issues that have bedeviled peace negotiators since 1979.
Rice gave a cheerful shrug. "I don't rule out that at some point that might be a useful thing to do," she said.
. . . But when the current Bush administration took office in 2001, its officials took pains to distinguish themselves from their immediate predecessors. One of the first things President George W. Bush did was to get rid of the State Department's special Middle East envoys.
. . . Bush administration officials maintained their hands-off policy. Until now.
Rice returned from the Middle East on March 27, after three intense days of shuttle diplomacy that largely revolved around trying to get Israel to agree to allowing peace talks with the Palestinians to include the big three final-status issues: Jerusalem's fate, a Palestinian state's borders and what to do about Palestinian refugees who fled, or were forced to leave, homes in Israel.
No deal - regarding the Iranian's capture of members of British Royal Navy. What was originally thought to be a crisis of short duration has dragged on while the captives have been held and paraded on Iranian television. One of the headlines, "US rejects Iran captives exchange," comes from BBC News. Quote,
US officials have ruled out a deal to exchange 15 Royal Navy personnel captured in the Gulf for five Iranians seized by American forces in Iraq. State department spokesman Sean McCormack rejected suggestions that a swap could be made.
. . . BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood said last year US President Bush gave a secret order that Iranian agents believed working in Iraq should be captured or killed because of the coalition's belief that Iran was "fermenting trouble in Iraq".

"inexcusable behavior." says Bush - according to the BBC News headline, "Bush attacks Iran over captives." To quote from the article,
President George W Bush has condemned Iran's "inexcusable behaviour" after its capture of 15 Royal Navy personnel.
The US leader added that he would "strongly support" the British government over the crisis.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran was waiting for a "change in attitude" from the UK and a "moderate approach" to its requests.
A slightly different view - The International Herald Tribune characterized the US approach as "low key":
It was the first time that Bush had commented publicly on the captured Britons.
Washington has taken a low-key approach to avoid aggravating tensions over the incident and shaking international resolve to get Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program.
Contrast of communication styles - So while our two key female U.S. leaders travel, speak and listen to Middle Eastern leaders, our current president and the U.K. government send messages back and forth with Iran that have yet to solve the problem. Though we do not yeat know the trips' outcomes, there is really something to be said for "eyeball to eyeball, ear to ear."

South by Southwest site visitors by country - (4/2/07). I am a woman whose words "travel" abroad, but only "virtually" in my blog. The chart at the left represents the various contries of origin of my current readers. Hello to all of you!

Reference:'s "Women's History" section on - Nancy Pelosi.
Technorati tags:

My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about oil.

No comments: