Let's look back to Jan. 11, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sat at the witness table in Hearing Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building explaining why "those who talk about engagement with Syria and Iran" are all wet. "That's not diplomacy -- that's extortion," she said.
Rice and the rest of the administration have already reversed course on Syria, with Rice having engaged in direct, bilateral talks with Syria's foreign minister two weeks ago. But discussions with Iran were always considered more controversial. As far as the Bush gang is concerned, Iran needs to be isolated, not engaged. To talk to Iran is to "reward bad behavior."
At least, it used to be.
The U.S. and Iran will hold rare meetings within the next few weeks in Baghdad to discuss the insurgency in Iraq, officials from the two nations said Sunday.
The talks, to be conducted between the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad and Iranian officials, would be the highest-level negotiations acknowledged between the two countries in recent years. The announcement suggested a new willingness on the part of the Bush administration to reach out to a longtime foe. [...]
"The purpose is to try to make sure that the Iranians play a productive role in Iraq," said Gordon Johndroe, a National Security Council spokesman. "This is not about the United States and Iran. This is about Iraq."
Well, that's one way of looking at it. Another is to acknowledge the fact that after years of saying talks with Iran would be reckless and irresponsible, the Bush gang is grudgingly accepting the reality Dems have been pushing for quite a while.
For years, all we've heard from the right is that Bush is a bold visionary when it comes to foreign policy, and Dems are both weak and clueless. And yet, here we are, watching the White House embrace the Dems' approach on most of the nation's major foreign policy challenges.
First, Republicans everywhere will be pleased to know that apologies can be sent to: Congressional Democratic Caucus, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC 20515.
Second, if Bush could just bring himself to accept the Democratic line on Iraq, too, we'd really see some progress.