Better relations needed

By Nisha Chittal

On Monday, DI columnist Jake Vial criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Syria. However, Speaker Pelosi’s actions were not a “foreign policy flub” as referred to by conservatives, but a necessary move on America’s part.

First of all, Pelosi was not the only member of Congress to visit the Assad government; U.S. Representatives Frank Wolfe of Virginia and Robert Aderholt of Alabama met with Assad three days before Pelosi’s delegation arrived, yet the White House didn’t comment on them. If the White House thinks it is really so wrong to talk to Syria, shouldn’t the Republicans who did so receive just as harsh treatment as Pelosi?

The Bush administration has been stubborn and rash in its boycott of Syria. Refusals to have any sort of contact with the Assad government won’t foster international cooperation or help America’s position in the Middle East.

If we want the U.S. to help encourage peace in the Middle East and develop better U.S.-Arab relations, the key to doing so is through open dialogue and communication, rather than stubbornly viewing Syria as our enemy and boycotting them altogether.

Instead of repeatedly calling Syria a “state sponsor of terror,” the Bush administration might benefit from actually doing something instead of just talking about it. Even the bipartisan Iraq Study Group last year recommended that the U.S. begin direct and extensive talks with Syria and Iran about Iraq. But then, when has Bush ever listened to such voices of reason as the Iraq Study Group or the UN?

It is a good thing Pelosi has given voice to the millions of Americans who disagree with the Bush administration’s shoddy foreign policy. Her actions mean that the U.S. can finally begin to develop better relations with Syria for the future.

Nisha Chittal

freshman in LAS