US President Donald Trump dropped a bombshell by saying he was canceling secret talks with the Taliban Photo: AFP/File
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Scrapping Afghan summit, Trump makes U.S. even less predictable

39 Comments
By Shaun TANDON

Stunning the world by saying he was canceling secret talks with the Taliban, President Donald Trump is again displaying his trademark unpredictability -- at the cost, critics say, of weakening U.S. credibility.

After his three made-for-television summits with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un, and as he voices openness to meeting Iran's leadership, Trump showed like never before that he is eager to talk to U.S. adversaries by inviting the Taliban, the Islamist militants who have been fighting U.S. troops for nearly two decades in Afghanistan.

But in revealing the bombshell, Trump had a dual surprise -- the talks focused on a U.S. troop withdrawal, which were to be held at the Camp David presidential retreat on Sunday, were off.

He pointed to the Taliban's killing of a U.S. soldier on Thursday in a bombing in Kabul, the latest in a string of deadly attacks.

Aaron David Miller, a longtime presidential aide who helped arrange the ultimately unsuccessful Israeli-Palestinian-U.S. summit at Camp David in 2000, believed that Trump was trying to put the brakes on a bad deal -- and, as usual, to put himself in the middle.

"This clearly plays to the president's instincts and his need to be at the center of attention," said Miller, now a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

He questioned why the president -- not a special envoy or secretary of state -- would lead negotiations and why they would take place at Camp David, where a 1978 summit brought peace between Israel and Egypt.

"It looks bad symbolically, and practically. Look at the result now. The president has suspended any negotiations with the Taliban," he said.

"He appears to have made the situation worse," he said, branding Trump's approach "the summit of the vanities."

Both the Trump administration and the Taliban have however kept the door open to future talks.

Trump, a self-proclaimed master negotiator who published a 1987 book called "The Art of the Deal," has spoken of his penchant for throwing others off guard.

He has repeatedly followed his own advice as president, notably on China, where he has tossed out the rulebook of trade talks by repeatedly and suddenly hiking tariffs.

Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said it was hard to identify a single foreign policy success brought by Trump's tactics.

"There doesn't seem to be any common thread or philosophy that drives his approach besides the use of own personal unpredictability," said Katulis, who worked in the White House under Bill Clinton.

"This approach undercuts those who work for him in trying to do the foundational work needed to advance a peace deal in Afghanistan or get an agreement with North Korea or Iran," he said.

"This creates the effect of the United States being a much more unpredictable and erratic actor, and this style ultimately may produce incentives for other countries to simply discount the word of America or any process it is engaged in right now."

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic presidential candidate, accused Trump of treating foreign policy "like it's some kind of game show."

"He wants to have that moment, but then all the details aren't done, and then we end up in a worse place on the world stage," she told CNN. "The world is watching. China is watching. Russia is watching. They realize the weakness this creates when we don't have consistency."

Defenders of Trump said he showed decisiveness by calling off the summit after the attack, which apparently took place after the invitation to Camp David.

"If the Taliban think we are doing peace deal so they can walk back in and slaughter Afghans at will and turn the country back into a terrorist Disneyland, then they are sadly mistaken," said James Jay Carafano, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, tweeting that Trump delivered an "unmistakable message."

But political watchers also believe that Trump is eager for an emblematic victory before he faces re-election next year -- such as ending the increasingly unpopular Afghan war.

"On the most important issues concerning our foreign policy, the president has either failed to produce successes or he set us back," said Nicholas Burns, a veteran U.S. diplomat who is now a professor at Harvard University.

On Afghanistan, he said, "It's weak to indicate publicly that you're desperate to get out and that you want to do it before the 2020 election."

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


39 Comments

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Leaving now would look like a defeat. Trump does not want to look like he is running away.

Troops will stay in Afghanistan for the rest of his term in office.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

displaying his trademark unpredictability -- at the cost, critics say, of weakening U.S. credibility.

US credibility has been weak - at best - for a long time; Trump's just pounding nails in.

Trump was trying to put the brakes on a bad deal -- and, as usual, to put himself in the middle.

Given Trump's Secretary of Defense is 'on loan' from one of the globe's largest defense contractors, I wonder how much pressure Trump and his admin have got from the defense industries to keep the state of perpetual wars going so they can continue to keep getting richer.

Given Trump's 'put himself in the middle', has anyone seen Trump's latest tax info to see how much he and his family have invested in big defense industries?

"On the most important issues concerning our foreign policy, the president has either failed to produce successes or he set us back,"

Trump plays golf and looks after his investments while America sinks. Which foreign countries benefit from Trump's bumbling?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Until we have evidence beyond what Donny says, there is zero evidence that there were actually any negotiations scheduled.

If we've learned one thing by having observed Donny since the 70s it's that you can believe nothing he says.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Until we have evidence beyond what Donny says, there is zero evidence that there were actually any negotiations scheduled.

I find his dishonesty a danger to the bits of the republic remaining, those he hasn't already undermined.

And who knows why he cancelled, assuming a meeting had actually been set up.

Reports are his appointed neo-cons Pompeo and Bolton can't work together. Uberhawk v. uberhawk. Another example of Trump's dysfunctional admin.

Could it be he wanted the meeting at one of his bedbug-ridden properties instead of Camp David so once again he could get taxpayers to pay and his properties profit?

Unfit for any elected position.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have no idea what to make of all of this. I support talking to the Taliban, but it's Trump they are talking to. He has shown zero successes on the world stage, especially with negotiations. He always seems to make things worse then dig his heels in on a bad decision because he's being criticized for it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Who in their 'right mind' would ever negotiate with trump?

Only in TrumpWorld does a president publicly announce the cancellation of secret meetings. While shuttling between his international golf resorts at taxpayer expense, maybe Trump could actually visit Afghanistan.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

this idiot's narcissism, and pathological lying is a danger to the world and his red hat followers and the likes of Moscow Mitch and Loser Lindsey don't care if he burns down the house. There was never a deal, it's all show.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"If the Taliban think we are doing peace deal so they can walk back in and slaughter Afghans at will and turn the country back into a terrorist Disneyland, then they are sadly mistaken," said James Jay Carafano, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation

They didn't seem to care about the other bombings and attacks before a US soldier was killed.

I bet the Talibans don't even mind the set back. They are winning anyway.

It's not like the US will send more troops at this point.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He pointed to the Taliban's killing of a U.S. soldier on Thursday in a bombing in Kabul, the latest in a string of deadly attacks.

Dying in wars is sort of their job. Its why we don't give them names...we might end up feeling sorry for them. If he cares so much about soldier X getting blown up, how about soldier Y and Z who are surely going to be in Afghanistan longer now that Trump is pulling out of talks?

No ceasefire agreement was ever reached. Agreeing to talks is not an automatic ceasefire. Furthermore, its their country. The soldier was an invader.

Scrapping Afghan summit, Trump makes U.S. even less predictable

The U.S. government has been rogue for some time.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This obsession with the Nobel Peace Prize, the desperation to get a peace deal done, even if the other side is a bunch of medieval , murdering maniacs, makes not only America and Americans unsafe, it makes us the laughing stock of the world .

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This creates the effect of the United States being a much more unpredictable and erratic actor, and this style ultimately may produce incentives for other countries to simply discount the word of America or any process it is engaged in right now."

Replace "America" with "Trump", and "countries" with "White House staff".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"This creates the effect of the United States being a much more unpredictable and erratic actor, and this style ultimately may produce incentives for other countries to simply discount the word of America or any process it is engaged in right now."

Of course, exactly as Putin planned as he launched his "sweeping and systemic" influence operation in 2015....

And a great many Americans fell for it....

But the Russian asset will be turned out of the White House soon....even then, he'll no doubt take his Sharpie and try to change the election results...and his supporters will believe it!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

but Trump never cared about it,

Not true.

not to the extent where it was a “must have!”

Not true again.

but being the first black President.

But this brings up what bugs the haters the most. Obama getting a prize for being a decent human being. Nobody in their right minds would ever call Donny decent. Abe made himself the laughing stock of the world by nominating his Golf buddy Donny.

We’ve been that since 2009

If you change channels beyond Fox then you will realise how much America is getting mocked around the world.

Sharepiegate???? I don't know , i dont know, I dont know!!!!!!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Of course, exactly as Putin planned as he launched his "sweeping and systemic" influence operation in 2015....

Actually from 2011

Wrong....

Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations. We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump

https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

And a great many Americans fell for it....

Yes, I’ll have more flexibility after the election...2014 complete media silence...odd..

Trump supporters might as well put a Russian flag in their windows...

But the Russian asset will be turned out of the White House soon....even then, he'll no doubt take his Sharpie and try to change the election results...and his supporters will believe it!

Or the haters believing in conspiracy theories...

PizzaGate.....

This obsession with the Nobel Peace Prize,

I don’t know where or which media you got that from, but Trump never cared about it, not to the extent where it was a “must have!” Now the last President got it for doing nothing, but being the first black President. That prize award is a joke has completely become totally irrelevant.

I hear "John Barron" is going to recommend him for the Nobel...the recommendation memo will be written with a Sharpie...

the desperation to get a peace deal done, even if the other side is a bunch of medieval , murdering maniacs, makes not only America and Americans unsafe, it makes us the laughing stock of the world.

We’ve been that since 2009, trying to get out of that image quagmire.

And Donnie's amateurish attempts have only made it worse...maybe he needs to take his Sharpie out and write a love letter to the Taliban - that worked so well with Kim...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"If the Taliban think we are doing peace deal so they can walk back in and slaughter Afghans at will and turn the country back into a terrorist Disneyland, then they are sadly mistaken," said James Jay Carafano, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation...

Grovelling sycophantic worm.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yesterday the BBC interviewed Afghans who said they couldn't understand why Trump cancelled the peace talk over the death of a single American soldier when everyday Afghans are being killed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just leave already.   Staying there is achieving nothing.  Ridiculous part is Taliban have had nothing to do with terrorism outside Afghanistan and Pakistan.  They just want to be left alone to rules their country like some relic of a bygone cultural and religious time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wrong....

The Russians have been meddling in our elections since 2011 and why is it that the last administration hid it and did nothing about it! Odd....

https://thefederalist.com/2019/06/04/obama-administration-ignore-reports-russian-election-meddling/

Trump supporters might as well put a Russian flag in their windows...

Judging by the Democrats policies it would seem that they have embraced Russian policies quite happily...

And Donnie's amateurish attempts have only made it worse...

Absurd, it can’t get worse, it’s already a mess that’s why he wants to get out, that’s what he campaigned on, only 32% of Americans support the war in Afghanistan, the people have had enough.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The Russians have been meddling in our elections since 2011 and why is it that the last administration hid it and did nothing about it! Odd....

Yes they did.

And it's weird you make that criticism, when you support a guy who has not only not criticized Russia, he's instead buddied up to them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yes they did.

Thank you.

And it's weird you make that criticism, when you support a guy who has not only not criticized Russia,

He has criticized them numerous times and even killed a few in Syria, you wouldn’t do that if you’re buddied up with the enemy.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

He has criticized them numerous times and even killed a few in Syria, you wouldn’t do that if you’re buddied up with the enemy.

But has you stated with Obama/Bin laden, Trump hasn't actually killed anyone. That would be boots on the ground and guys in the sky. Sparebones commands from his office not the battlefields of Syria. Does he even know where Syria, Afghanistan are? Was having some problem locating Alabama. Probably thinking of Obama again?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

He has criticized them numerous times and even killed a few in Syria, you wouldn’t do that if you’re buddied up with the enemy.

Well you say that, except that he hasn't criticized them, and he has buddied with them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But has you stated with Obama/Bin laden, Trump hasn't actually killed anyone. That would be boots on the ground and guys in the sky.

No boots, guys in the skies.

Sparebones commands from his office not the battlefields of Syria.

Yes, the President does.

Does he even know where Syria, Afghanistan are? Was having some problem locating Alabama. Probably thinking of Obama again?

Then in that case you really don’t want Biden....but he won’t be President anyway, but if he were....geeez...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

in that case you really don’t want Biden.

I'm impartial as to Biden myself, though I think he would be better as president than Trump or any of his 'pub challengers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In Syria there are American boots on the ground not just guys in the sky.

I don't have the American vote so no say on anyone.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In Syria there are American boots on the ground not just guys in the sky.

I was referring to thousands and thousands of soldiers being sent. That won’t happen.

I don't have the American vote so no say on anyone.

Yes, you don’t.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Trump makes U.S. even less predictable

That's good for our enemies.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Trump makes U.S. even less predictable

That's good for our enemies.

I meant that's bad for our enemies, lol.

Which is a good thing for the world.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I meant that's bad for our enemies, lol.

No, you got it right the first time. Trump has alienated US allies, and now the US is just something to be tolerated, and worked around, not with. This is not beneficial to the US, and is good for its enemies.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yeah, this isn't good. Trump is too incompetent to have these kind of talks. He needs to stay on the golf course. Even Trump fans agree with me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yeah, this isn't good. Trump is too incompetent to have these kind of talks.

Lol, as if the last President would have even tried.

He needs to stay on the golf course. Even Trump fans agree with me.

No, we want him to do whatever it takes and if the same tank should enjoy his life.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Yes, the President does.

Yes just like the previous president did when he took command of so many important military decisions.

Lol, as if the last President would have even tried.

But Obama took command of the operation to locate and capture Bin Laden when a very expensive invasion and war had failed to do that, even with those massive bunker busting bombs. Obama got his man and made the world a safer place.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wrong....

The Russians have been meddling in our elections since 2011 and why is it that the last administration hid it and did nothing about it! Odd....

https://thefederalist.com/2019/06/04/obama-administration-ignore-reports-russian-election-meddling/

Well thanks for helping prove my point - The Federalist is as close to Russia Today as you can get...

Trump supporters might as well put a Russian flag in their windows...

Judging by the Democrats policies it would seem that they have embraced Russian policies quite happily...

"I believe Vlad, not my Intel Agencies".....

And Donnie's amateurish attempts have only made it worse...

Absurd, it can’t get worse, it’s already a mess that’s why he wants to get out, that’s what he campaigned on, only 32% of Americans support the war in Afghanistan, the people have had enough.

Oh, it could get a lot worse - the Taliban regain the country, and Al Queda and ISIS get a new home....

With this Idiot negotiating, that's no doubt what will happen...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes just like the previous president did when he took command of so many important military decisions.

And then restrained them from doing their missions properly by retraining them with a litany list of rules of engagement. If we are not allowed to fully engage and overwhelm the enemy? Why go for visual and cosmetics purposes?

But Obama took command of the operation to locate and capture Bin Laden when a very expensive invasion and war had failed to do that, even with those massive bunker busting bombs. Obama got his man and made the world a safer place.

Rob O’Neill got him and not only once, but gave him a double tap. Love the guy.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well thanks for helping prove my point

With that, why the last administration allowed the Russians to continue to meddle in our elections? Oh, wait....

"I believe Vlad, not my Intel Agencies".....

Medvedev believed in Obama.

Oh, it could get a lot worse - the Taliban regain the country, and Al Queda and ISIS get a new home....

At least we have a residual force. Not like the last President that didn’t want a SOFA agreement. What a fool!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Rob O’Neill got him and not only once, but gave him a double tap. Love the guy.

Rob O'Neill was sent by Obama. You can't even recognize an Obama achievement when he was acting in his capacity as CiC. Rank hyperpartisanship.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Medvedev believed in Obama.

Irrelevant to Donny siding with Putin over our intelligence agencies.

At least we have a residual force. Not like the last President that didn’t want a SOFA agreement. What a fool!

False.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well thanks for helping prove my point

With that, why the last administration allowed the Russians to continue to meddle in our elections? Oh, wait....

Ask Moscow Mitch....he's the one that said no....

https://www.kentucky.com/opinion/editorials/article120718538.html

"I believe Vlad, not my Intel Agencies".....

Medvedev believed in Obama.

Putin certainly believed in Trump - helped him get elected...bet he can't wait for that penthouse...

Oh, it could get a lot worse - the Taliban regain the country, and Al Queda and ISIS get a new home....

At least we have a residual force. Not like the last President that didn’t want a SOFA agreement. What a fool!

He's caved again....lots of caves in Afghanistan....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Taliban have been killing Americans for a long time, Trump stopping the talks giving the death of a soldier doesn’t add up.

An order from Putin is the most likely reason , one man Donny never says No to.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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