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It’s good the President wanted to look Taliban leaders ‘in the eye’

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President Trump has been under fire for canceling a meeting with Taliban and Afghani leaders that was to be held at Camp David. The controversy isn’t over the cancellation itself but over the President’s willingness to host Taliban terrorists at Camp David days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Critics have argued that he shouldn’t be talking to terrorist leaders at all, let alone hosting them at Camp David.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went on Fox News with Chris Wallace to discuss the situation. During the contentious interview, Pompeo reiterated that “you don’t get to negotiate with good guys,” referring to the President’s desire to end the conflict in Afghanistan and bring American troops home.

Opinion

There are two camps opposed to the President’s intentions to meet with the Taliban. Some say there was no reason for the President to get involved because negotiators in the Middle East were already close enough to an agreement that the President’ involvement wasn’t necessary. But this argument is clearly wrong based on the events that prompted the President to cancel the meeting in the first place. If we were really close to a deal, there would be no terrorist attacks or Americans killed in the middle of negotiations. That’s bad faith negotiations and demonstrates the Taliban cannot be trusted.

The second camp is against the President “dignifying” people with meetings. Whether it’s the Taliban, Kim Jong un, Xi Jinping, or Vladimir Putin, simply meeting with these leaders or groups supposedly gives them some sort of power or dignity they don’t deserve. This view is often the convenient perspective of those blinded by their hatred for the President. As leader of the free world, the President is looked upon to make decisions that affect billions. But even if we isolate the President’s role to his responsibilities to the Constitution and the American people, his desire to look people in the eye is an important privilege reserved to those who make important decisions.

When I was in the process of selling my second company, the buyers had already agreed with everything we had wanted when I called them to Southern California for one last meeting. It was important that I understood their intentions, and anyone who believes they can determine someone’s intentions without looking them in the eye is either delusional or a much better negotiator than I am. Perhaps that unspoken rule in the business world carried over to President Trump from his past dealings. Either way, a handshake with eyes locked on one another is the real closing of a deal, not documents signed thousands of miles away.

I do not believe the Taliban want peace any more than I believe Kim Jong un is willing to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. One can say the President is gullible in that regard, but his decision to meet with leaders at Camp David is not something that elevates them or belittles the presidency in my book.

Quote

“You know the history of Camp David. Lots of bad folks have come through that place, there have been lots of peace negotiations taking place.” – Mike Pompeo

Final Thoughts

Wanting America to be stronger means acknowledging that the President of the United States must meet with world leaders whether friend or foe. The planned meeting with the Taliban was the right move, as was canceling it.

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