“Even superpowers have to talk to bad guys,”

writes former CIA deputy director John McLaughlin. “The absence of a diplomatic relationship with Iran and the deterioration of the one with Syria…leave the United States with fewer options and levers than might otherwise have been the case. … We will have to get over the notion that talking to bad guys somehow rewards them or is a sign of weakness. As a superpower, we ought to be able to communicate in a way that signals our strength and self-confidence.”