And he thought he’d finally get it by secretly inviting a bunch of terrorists over to Camp David…
Until they acted like a bunch of terrorists. (Isn’t Trump the one who’s always warning people with the parable of the “snake and the gullible woman”)?
At which point the President let everyone know—on Twitter—that his planned “unbeknownst to almost everyone” meeting with the Taliban was off.
(It might be a little interesting here that the President finds fault that the Taliban “admitted” to the attack, which of course they intended to do. But had they just done the attack and not “admitted” to it, could the President still have found his way to signing a deal? Who knows? But it’s an interesting choice of words especially for a President who goes out of his way never to admit anything).
Ending the pretty much endless war in Afghanistan, or at least ending U.S. involvement in it is a noble pursuit. And if it’s something that has to happen sooner rather than later, the Taliban kind of has to be involved because they have power inside the country, and the ability to create mayhem. As they showed with their car bomb attack in Kabul last week, which killed U.S. Sgt. 1st Class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz, from Morovis, Puerto Rico, and 11 other people.
The deal on the table, according to the Washington Post, would’ve been a promise of a cease fire by the Taliban, and a promise to continue opposing ISIS and not doing business with Al Qaeda. All in exchange for the U.S. pulling one-fourth of its troops out of Afghanistan, (about 5,000 soldiers in the next 3-4 months), with a view to pulling out more. The biggest problem with all of this, is all the stuff the Taliban was apparently getting ready to promise would’ve been very hard to measure or verify. (And no guarantees the Taliban wouldn’t have returned to its ways of doing things that didn’t directly involve the U.S. like rounding up Afghan citizens in soccer stadiums and carrying out mass executions.)
But Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were apparently ready to take that leap of faith. Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton (whom we usually disagree with) wasn’t. The New York Times has a really good play-by-play on how it all quickly came together, and fell apart.
Many people on Twitter are pointing out today that inviting the Taliban over is not the same as welcoming ISIS representatives, for instance. That’s because the origins of the Taliban can be traced back to U.S. support during the Soviet-Afghan War during the 80s. And President Reagan even met with Afghan fighters in the Oval Office during that time.
Then again, there is the matter of the Taliban providing safe haven for Osama bin Laden in the 90s, and allowing him to operate terrorist training camps inside Afghanistan, (according to a report by the British government). And at least 3 of the pilots of the hijacked 9/11 planes trained in Afghanistan, along with many or all of the other terrorists involved in the attack, (according to a report by the German government).
So while it may be a valid argument that any kind of peace and U.S. troop withdrawal can only be achieved with the Taliban involved, do they really have to be invited over? Never mind that pre-President Trump excoriated President Obama — again, on Twitter — for even suggesting he’d be willing to talk with the Taliban And of course Obama did get a Nobel Prize very early in his Presidency for…nobody still really knows…(working really hard?)
Peace treaties can be signed anywhere. So we can think of only one reason for Trump to insist on it being done in the U.S. at the risk of offending many Americans, especially those who served in Afghanistan: he’s continuing to lobby for the Nobel Prize. (Something he’s said he should’ve won just for talking to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.) And he thought a Camp David accord would’ve given him his best shot. (This year’s prize winners will be announced in a little over a month.)
For sure, it would’ve provided him with a grand, surprise revelation that no one would’ve been expecting, that he alone could’ve taken credit for, and then could’ve launched an all-new obsessive Twitter campaign claiming his Nobel.