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Daniel Levy in The New York Times' Week in Review

December 16, 2007 |

If there is one thing that the past two weeks have shown, it’s that America is about to enter a new age of talk.

Even if there weren’t going to be an election next November that would usher in a new administration, the United States, under President Bush, would be entering a new age of talk. Seven years of President Bush’s Don’t-Talk-to-Evil policy are over, even under the helm of the administration that crafted it.

Now administration officials are openly making nice with Syria, holding round after round of talks with Iran over the fate of Iraq, and making preliminary plans for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to visit Libya. ...

“Will we talk to the rogues or not?” says Robert J. Einhorn, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He says the answer is clear: We will. ...

Clearly, figuring out when it is right to talk or not to talk to enemies is no small matter. Looking at the long list of countries and organizations that have been in the United States’ doghouse, those who would be the new president will have their work cut out for them in figuring out whom to talk to, and when. For example:

...HEZBOLLAH Another name on the American terrorist list, but this case, while hard, may not be as tough a nut as Hamas, especially if the ongoing Syrian-American détente continues. “The Americans are already talking to Nabih Berri,” says a former Israeli peace negotiator, Daniel Levy, referring to a Shiite Muslim Lebanese politician who has close ties to Hezbollah and Syria. ...

For the complete Week in Review article, please click here.