Nancy Pelosi is in the Middle East this week for one reason: to show American voters that the Democratic party favors dialogue with, rather than isolation of, one's diplomatic adversaries. As George Bush has been slow to take up the recommendations of the Iraq study group, Pelosi and her Dem counterparts have seized the opportunity to engage the Syrian government and elements of the Palestinian Authority. She's scheduled to stop in Saudi Arabia, too, but that's most likely because she was just in the neighborhood.
And let's face it, this is solid strategy. Suddenly, every farmer in South Dakota has become an expert on US foreign policy. At least they're starting to pay attention to it, anyway. When talking heads throw around "engage" vs. "isolate" strategies on meaningless, yet highly rated, political talk shows, the US voting public is more educated on these issues now than ever before. Pelosi knows W has awful approval ratings, particularly in the foreign policy arena, and she knows that W favors isolating one's "enemies." She's hoping that voters realize W's diplomatic strategy is poor, and her tour to Syria just might pay dividends at the polls come 2008.