Monday, January 9, 2012

Talking with the Taliban

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post ran editorials about the news of progress in negotiations with the Taliban.

Robert Dreyfuss at The Nation summarizes them and adds this important commentary.

On the United States side, the military doesn’t want to abandon the fight, and no doubt many of the generals would love to carry the war into Pakistan, too, but President Obama has given them their chance, and they’ve failed. In 2009, in agreeing to the escalation of the war (twice), Obama gave the generals enough rope to hang themselves, and so they have. Now it’s time for the adults, i.e., the diplomats, to take over. But under pressure from Republican hawks, it’s not a safe bet that Obama can sell a deal with the Taliban to the American people, even though polls show that a substantial majority of Americans want to end the war.

On the Taliban side, the problem is that the Taliban is a complex organism with many moving parts, and on top of that Pakistan—which hosts the Taliban and its allies, and exerts what amounts to a controlling influence—holds all the high cards.

All three articles point out the risks and challenges involved in these negotiations - both in the Middle East and here at home. But as Dreyfuss indicates, its what "the adults" need to do.

For more on this story, see the tab up top titled Ending the Indefinite War.

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