American Elephants


Short on manners, long on politics. by The Elephant's Child

President Alvaro Uribe of Columbia came to Washington this week to plead for a free trade pact.  He didn’t come asking for very much — only that Congress keep its word on an agreement that will drop tariffs on American goods sold in Columbia.  Columbia is perhaps the most valuable ally that America has ever had in Latin America. 

President Uribe is looking for  a chance to help his country develop as a democracy and prosper in a difficult region. The main result of the free trade agreement would be an increase in investments in his country, and an opportunity for America to sell more to Columbia.  The more Columbia is allowed to develop and increase legal investment, the more it will help them to defeat terrorist groups and illegal drugs. 

Last July, Columbia put its’ own men in harm’s way in a daring rescue of three Americans held hostage by FARC Marxist terrorists.  For that, somebody should get a medal, let alone a trade agreement. 

Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who killed the free trade deal last April, refused to meet Uribe, and did not even acknowledge a White House invitation to an event in his honor.  Later, her staff complained that Uribe did not call her. 

Pelosi has offered a variety of excuses, but the motive seems to be paying attention to the demands of Big Labor at election time. Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson, supposed Latin experts, seemed unaware of the message that their treatment of Uribe sent to the region.

But Governor Sarah Palin, who is supposed to be a foreign policy lightweight, asked to meet with Uribe on Tuesday in New York.  Way to go, Sarah.  At least someone knows how to behave when an important leader comes to our country. And she puts our country’s interests ahead of politics, as well.


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