JAW JAW….This isn’t really anything new, but it’s still freshly astounding whenever I hear it:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday rejected a bipartisan panel’s recommendation that the United States seek the help of Syria and Iran in Iraq, saying the “compensation” required by any deal might be too high. She argued that neither country should need incentives to foster stability in Iraq.
“If they have an interest in a stable Iraq, they will do it anyway,” Rice said in a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post reporters and editors.
This is, basically, an argument for never negotiating with anyone. After all, why bother if states will simply do what they want to do regardless? (cf. President Bush’s belief that Syria already “knows my position.”)
Conservatives often accuse liberals of elevating negotiation into an end in itself. It’s a fatuous charge, but its mirror image isn’t: as a matter of principle, contemporary conservatives really do seem to have broadly rejected even the concept of negotiating with our enemies. I guess you could armchair psychoanalyze this belief forever, but I imagine it’s mostly caused by a fear that they might actually succeed. Take a look at Iraq: in the end, it acquiesced to every American demand in 2002 and 2003, and that just made it harder to gain support for the invasion we wanted.
It’s no wonder Bush hates the idea. He’s probably afraid the same thing might happen with Syria.