Five ex-secretaries of state urge talks with Iran - 15 Sep 2008 at 7:05pm - WASHINGTON -- Five former secretaries of state, gathering to give their best advice to the next president, agreed Monday that the United States should talk to Iran.... [James A.] Baker [III], secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush from 1989-1992, said he did not think "there is a deal to be struck" between Israel and the Palestinians. But he said the U.S. should get on good terms with Syria when there is a better chance for a deal. "It's ridiculous for us to say we are not going to talk to Syria," he said.
Seems obvious, doesn't it?: if you hope to persuade another party to take a particular course of action, you would do well to open a dialogue with that party. You probably won't be as persuasive if you never open your mouth.