Rich, talking to fence-sitting aiders and abettors you are trying to pry away from a sub-national terror network is a lot different from talking to a sovereign regime that is the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism. I don’t see the Anbar Awakening as a precedent for talking to the mullahs any more than talking to the Soviets was such a precedent.
I’m not saying you make doctrinaire rules against talking. I’m saying that you don’t talk when doing so is counterproductive. And as I argued this morning, it’s more important to get the policy right (in the case of Iran, regime-change) than to dither over whether to talk and at what level.