Negotiating with terrorist states is a clear break from the "no negotiations with terrorists" rule that usually defines American policy. Perhaps the President and his Secretary of State have lost their ability to think cogently, but Frank Gaffney has not. Here's the crux of his view:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s announcement Tuesday that the United States was now prepared to begin negotiating directly with Iran and its proxy, Syria, over the future of Iraq is the latest evidence of the complete unraveling of what was once a principled, coherent American approach to foreign and defense policy. Today, the Bush team’s motto seems to be: Anything goes. Among the things that are poised to go over the side is the nation’s security.
There are fundamentally three things wrong with negotiating with the Islamic Republic of Iran — whether over Iraq or anything else. First, such negotiations will legitimate one of the most dangerous regimes on the planet. By acceding to the pressure to accord the mullahocracy in Tehran the status of equal partners and members in good standing of the “community of nations” — especially against the backdrop of its increasing aggressiveness, we reward that bad behavior. It should come as no surprise that there will be more of it in the future.
Second, embracing Ahmadinejad and his mullahs in this way can only alienate our natural allies: the people of Iran. They have lately been demonstrating a growing willingness to challenge the Islamofascists who have oppressed them for so long . . . Now, it is inevitable that such pressure will be alleviated, as governments and businesses seize on the new diplomatic opening to rush in and prop up Ahmadinejad.
Third, the adoption of the negotiating track effectively forecloses other options for dealing with the danger posed by the Iranian regime. In particular, efforts to bring about its downfall will be precluded. Diplomats predictably will insist that nothing be done — for example, through covert operations, more far-reaching and effective economic sanctions, military preparations, or political warfare — that will jeopardize the prospects for successful negotiations.
Since installing Rice as Secretary of State, the Bush Administration's foreign policy has slid into the stability-and-realist mode of celebrating the status quo and the immoral detente spirit that marked the policy planks of Bush I, Clinton, Carter and Nixon. Since the mid-term elections of '06, this trend has worsened. Quite honestly, there is little to distinguish between Bush's policies now, and the ones espoused by John Kerry in the 2004 election campaign. If the 60,000,000+ people who voted for Bush in the '04 elections wanted a John Kerry foreign policy, they could have voted for Botox Man. They didn't. And Bush's abdication of American principles and interests is making this country weaker by the day.