Reader Steve left this excellent comment to my "crazy letter" post the other day:
I think what some people (like the letter writer) forget is that the basis of a deal is a set of shared assumptions and objectives. For example the negotiation of a real estate purchase has a presupposition that the buyer wants to buy and the seller wants to sell!Reading this comment made me immediately think of the debate regarding negotiations with those who don't share the same views we do. Case in point: Cuba. It would not be an impossible task if the parties involved were honest and decent, with any differences merely rooted in ideology. Sure, it still wouldn't be easy, but at least you know there is a "shared objective" that can be considered to be desirable for the common good. However, this is certainly not the case when dealing with Cuba. Time and time again, overtures have been rejected because of "meddling" over human rights and other pesky issues which Cuba (and many of the regime's supporters) claims is the right of a sovereign state to follow or reject without outside interference. Unfortunately, there are too many folks like the letter writer in the original post who live in the world of moral equivalence who fail or simply refuse to see that when you're dealing with rogue states like Cuba or the Taliban, one side is infinitely superior to the other.
"Negotiating" with the Taliban to "cut a deal" is a joke. What are we going to offer the Taliban? What are they going to offer us? In reality, we can either stay and fight or we leave with our tail between our legs. We know that and they know that. Does the writer believe we can negotiate with them so they support Democracy when we leave? Or that they will support women's rights when we leave? If we leave it is their show, they can do what they want.