NPR: In its waning days, the Bush administration is showing new flexibility toward Iraq, Iran and North Korea — the countries it once called the "Axis of Evil." The administration says it would still include Iran and North Korea on the list, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week participated in talks including her North Korean counterpart, and she sent a top diplomat to Geneva last weekend for talks with Iran's nuclear negotiator.
There used to be bright lines in the Bush administration's approach to the world. Just a couple of months ago, President Bush compared talks with Iran to appeasement. And the U.S. didn't want one-on-one talks with North Korea, accused of cheating on a past nuclear deal. Now, the U.S. is trying to push forward a new nuclear deal with Pyongyang.
Rice's meeting with her North Korean counterpart angered her critics on the right.
"This is the Obama administration beginning six months early," said former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, who is now with the American Enterprise Institute. He says we are witnessing the "intellectual collapse" of the Bush administration. read more
What we are witnessing is a shift in the level of enlightenment.