Many Americans consider it wrong, even traitorous, for their fellow countrymen to make “unofficial official" visits to nations non grata.
For example, Nancy Pelosi just met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, much to the displeasure of President Bush. Bush's response was oddly muted, though, when a prominent member of his own party and, later, a GOP delegation visited that country, which is high on the Presidential Shitlist. (There is some evidence that the latter group even had the president's approval to make the trip.)
The ostensible objection here is that Syria is one of those Middle Eastern countries closely associated with terrorism. (Honestly, that could be just about any of them.)
But Vice President Cheney recently visited Saudi Arabia, home to most of the 9/11 hijackers, and a country with little in the way of human rights. Indeed, Bush himself has been known to literally hold hands with that country’s dictator/monarch during visits. This is just a tad hypocritical.
For the reasonable among us, there’s a very good explanation for these unauthorized trips by statesmen. It’s called diplomacy. And what it means – and our president is not willing to do this – is swallowing your pride and sitting down at the table with some (other) real assholes, no matter how disagreeable you may find them.
The press often do that very thing. Dan Rather interviewed Saddam Hussein on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, for example. 60 Minutes aired an interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Liberal media terrorist sympathizers, right?
In these instances ratings were no doubt a big motivator. But I do think we should give even our adversaries their 15 minutes on the air, if only to let them show just how fucking nuts they are. Seriously.
Does anyone think that any American will be swayed by, for example, Ahmadinejad’s words? Often these people simply ramble along with homicidal delusions of grandeur. In essence, they provide their own undoing. Just look at the Osama bin Laden tapes that pop up every now and then; even consternatives readily broadcast those.
Of course, press initiatives are not as consequential as visits by government officials. It may hit some the wrong way, but when leaders are unwilling to exhibit the leadership their offices require, others have to step up and do so in their place.
PS: In case you hadn't noticed, I have failed to deliver the adult-oriented site previously promised. Well, we must all observe April Fools Day in our own way. I got a good laugh, and some serious hits to my site due to my use of terms like "upskirt" and "nipple slip." Oops, there I go again! Thanks to all y'all masta-baytaz for making that post a success.