So when is the president going to rename the Axis of Evil to the evil Axis of Ménage à Trois? Was if Ahmadinejad's Members Only jacket from 1973 that was so appealing, or Kim Jong Il looking like a lost little pot bellied pig? One thing I do know is this--under Condi Rice and President Bush's apparent acquiescence to her approach, we are now legitimizing and negotiating with countries that how vowed to, or have been, murdering millions of people. ...
Today it is announced that on March 5-6, we will be meeting in New York with a representative from North Korea to "normalize" relations with them. In other words, the policy of the State department under Condi Rice is to reward genocidal regimes who lie and cheat their way to a nuclear bomb. Not only are they not punished, they are rewarded with normalized relations and international legitimacy. ...
Read it all here.
Related, from Debka:
Syria to send an aide to Baghdad conference of Iraq’s neighbors while Iran is reviewing the invitation.
In a sharp policy reversal, the US joined Iraq in a new initiative to invite Iran and Syria to a “neighbors meeting” in Baghdad next month.
Iran’s supreme national security council head Ali Larijani said Wednesday: “We support solving problems by Iraq by all means and will attend the conference if it is expedient.” He added: Iraq’s security is related to all its neighbors.
US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday, Feb. 27: “We hope that all governments seize this opportunity to improve their relations with Iraq and to work for peace and stability in the region.”
Until now, the Bush administration had resisted calls to include Iran and Syria in diplomatic efforts to stabilize Iraq.
In Baghdad, the Iraqi government announced the meeting would take place in mid-March with the participation of members of the Arab League and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Rice said it would be held at sub-ministerial level, to be followed perhaps in April by a full ministerial-level meeting of the same countries, plus G-8 Group members.
Meanwhile, Michael Ledeen reports a possible defection by an Iranian spy. The Turkish Press: 'Ankara’s diplomatic and political circles are currently filled with gossip over a missing Iranian, thought by some to be a spy. Iranian citizen Ali Rızari Asqhari, 63, who recently retired from the Iranian Defense Ministry, disappeared in Istanbul on Feb. 7, daily Hürriyet reported on Monday. Iran has made a diplomatic move, yesterday sending a delegation to Turkey to obtain more information on the missing man.' Ledeen adds: 'So a guy from the Iranian Defense Ministry goes missing in Istanbul, and the mullahs are concerned enough to send a team to investigate. Let’s hope the guy’s in Langley, and that he knows something useful.' Amen.
Update. For another view of the proposed talks, here's Neo-Neocon:
So, if the present proposed talks contain two elements: (1) a strategically viable "big stick" threat from the US; and (2) Iran's awareness that the talks are not a cover for a planned precipitous US retreat from Iraq--then I think talking to Iran and Syria would not be a particularly dangerous thing to do. Although I still doubt the productivity of any such talks, they would no longer be especially risky, as long as we remain realistic about their chances of success, and continue to pressure Iran in other ways.
Whether these two needed elements are fully in place right now, I'm not sure. ...
Read the rest here.