Tough Guys Negotiate

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to negotiate with adversaries, but his administration has refused to talk to either North Korea or Iran. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, during her recent visit to the demilitarized zone in Korea, emphasized that the United States will not negotiate with North Korea until it gives up its nuclear weapons program. Administration officials have said the same about Iran: no discussions until Tehran abandons its nuclear program and ends the enrichment of uranium. The administration’s motto seems to be “no negotiation without capitulation.” That’s a formula for avoiding the bargaining table.
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Leon Panetta’s Bombshell

Note: This post originally appeared over at 24 Peace Scholars.

CIA Director Leon Panetta dropped a bombshell during his interview with ABC News last Sunday, but it landed in official Washington without stirring the slightest shock. Panetta stated that the total number of Al Qaeda terrorists currently active in Afghanistan is “relatively small. At most, we’re looking at 50 to 100, maybe less.”

So why are we still fighting this war? Why is it necessary to deploy nearly 100,000 U.S. troops, plus tens of thousands of contractors and soldiers from other countries, to counter fewer than 100 fighters? Why not declare victory and go home?

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