The Obama administration has a unique new strategy for conducting negotiations: Back yourself into a corner, and then talk.
The Washington Post reports today that President Obama wants to be able to announce progress in talks with the Taliban when he tells everyone in July how many troops he’ll be withdrawing from the country.
Asked what Obama hoped to announce in July, an official said the president would not offer details of any talks. “It would be something like this,” the official said. “ ‘Here’s my plan on troops, here’s my overall vision for Afghanistan. The secretary [Clinton] said we were going to produce some diplomacy and laid out our desire to speak to the enemy. . . . I want to tell the American people . . . we’re making that policy real.’ ”
So let’s get this straight. The Taliban perceive that we need some results by July and so we are stepping up our engagement. They think, “Wow, Obama needs some results. Let’s make this easier for him and grant a bunch of concessions.”
No, of course, they don’t. They’re just not that kind of people. They think, “We got him where we want him.”