This Wall Street Journal editorial on Democrats at War (sub req) pretty much says all that needs to be said:
Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her now famous sojourn to Syria, donning a head scarf and advertising that she was conducting shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem and Damascus. If there was any doubt that her trip was intended as far more than a routine Congressional "fact-finding" trip, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos put it to rest by declaring that, "We have an alternative Democratic foreign policy. I view my job as beginning with restoring overseas credibility and respect for the United States."
Americans should understand how extraordinary this is. There have been previous battles over U.S. foreign policy and fierce domestic criticism. In the 1990s, these columns defended Bill Clinton against "the Republican drift toward isolationism and political opportunism" amid the Kosovo conflict. But rarely in U.S. history have Congressional leaders sought to conduct their own independent diplomacy, with the Speaker acting as a Prime Minister traveling with a Secretary of State in the person of Mr. Lantos.
Yes, Congressional Republicans have visited Syria too. But Ms. Pelosi isn't some minority back-bencher. Without a Democrat in the White House, she and Mr. Reid are the national leaders of their party. Even Newt Gingrich, for all his grand domestic ambitions in 1995, took a muted stand on foreign policy, realizing that in the American system the executive has the bulk of national security power. He also understood he would do the country no favors by sending a mixed message to our enemies -- at the time, Slobodan Milosevic.
What was Ms. Pelosi hoping to accomplish, other than embarrassing President Bush? "We were very pleased with reassurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process," she told reporters after meeting with dictator Bashar Assad. "We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria."
She purported to convey a message from Israel's Ehud Olmert expressing similar interest in "the peace process," except that the Israeli Prime Minister felt obliged to issue a clarification noting that Ms. Pelosi had got the message wrong. Israel hadn't changed its policy, which is that it will negotiate only when Mr. Assad repudiates his support for terrorism and stops trying to dominate Lebanon. As a shuttle diplomat, Ms. Pelosi needs some practice.
Meanwhile, in the same august editorial pages, Robert F. Turner explains why Pelosi's subversion of the Bush administration's foreign policy may not only be ill-advised but actually illegal (sub req):
The "Logan Act" makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, "without authority of the United States," to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government's behavior on any "disputes or controversies with the United States." Some background on this statute helps to understand why Ms. Pelosi may be in serious trouble.
President John Adams requested the statute after a Pennsylvania pacifist named George Logan traveled to France in 1798 to assure the French government that the American people favored peace in the undeclared "Quasi War" being fought on the high seas between the two countries. In proposing the law, Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut explained that the object was, as recorded in the Annals of Congress, "to punish a crime which goes to the destruction of the executive power of the government. He meant that description of crime which arises from an interference of individual citizens in the negotiations of our executive with foreign governments."