To the editor:
I was impressed with what former Secretary of State James Baker had to say recently about diplomacy. Baker, who served in both President Ronald Reagan's and President George H.W. Bush's administrations, said, "You don't just talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies, as well ... diplomacy involves talking to your enemies ... by talking to them, if you're tough, and you know what you're doing, you don't appease them. Talking to an enemy is not, in my view, appeasement."
This style of diplomacy stands in marked contrast to the present Bush administration's views of diplomacy in regard to Iran and North Korea developing nuclear weapons. The present President Bush demands that these countries stop their nuclear programs and say "uncle" before he will talk face to face with them.
In his interview, Baker recounted one of his successes: "I made 15 trips to Syria in 1990-1991 at a time when Syria was on the list of countries who are state sponsors of terrorism, and the 16th trip, guess what? Lo and behold, Syria changed 25 years of policy and agreed for the first time in history to come sit at the table with Israel."
It is sad how true diplomacy is a lost art in Washington these days.
Daniel Patrick Schamle,