Sep 13, 2019 / 04:41

Mutual miscalculations

The Hanoitimes - President Trump personally and the Taliban would necessarily draw lessons from their miscalculations this time.

The surprise cancellation of the US – Taliban talks was a significant setback for the peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and a temporary failure for US President Trump's tactic of quitting a bad deal in settling the longest war in the US’s history in Afghanistan.
US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump
The peace attempt would become historical if things went on as they were intended and arranged by Mr. Trump. It recalled the peace talks between Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin by the then US President Jimmy at Camp David. It also brought to mind the year 2000 when, by arrangements of US President Bill Clinton, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barack negotiated peace, also at Camp David. It went along the line of Trump's typical approach of solving security conflict like the one between the US and North Korea. The same approach will certainly be applied with Iran: maximum pressure combined with offers to direct talks at the highest levels.

It didn't work for Mr. Trump this time because both Mr. Trump and Taliban leaders had miscalculated each other. The official explanation for the calling off of talks with the Taliban was the attacks perpetrated by this fundamentalist group in the Afghan capital of Kabul, killing one American soldier among many other victims. Mr. Trump even declared the direct peace process between the US and the Taliban was dead. Mr. Trump obviously believed that the Taliban was so keen on a direct peace arrangement with the US that they would halt their raids on US military personnel and soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and that they would not make troubles for Mr. Trump at home. And the Taliban in Afghanistan calculated that Mr. Trump is now too enthusiastic to reach a peace agreement with them and pull all US troops out of Afghanistan the sooner the better, at the latest before the next presidential election in the US.

Mr. Trump had no other choice but to stop any further peace attempt with the Taliban. But it isn't Mr. Trump’s definite decision. Because he deadly needs results and something he could sell in the US as success of his reign. His decision to call off the peace talks with the Taliban and considering it dead was just temporary and serves domestic purposes as well as to increase pressures on both the Taliban and the Afghan government. The president personally and, of course, the Taliban would necessarily draw lessons from their miscalculations this time. Therefore, their peace talks will continue, sooner rather than later.