Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
Over the past few decades, US foreign defense policy has lurched from one self-made disaster to another; the most recent example is the exchange of five Taliban commanders who had been sequestered in Guantanamo Bay for one US POW, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
In order to focus on the foreign policy implications of this most recent action by the Obama administration, let’s set aside the circumstances behind Sgt Bergdahl’s capture by the Taliban and how his own actions led to the Sgt residence with the Taliban.
Instead, let’s focus on the future impact of this exchange.
According to the New York Times, “the five Taliban detainees at Guantánamo, including two senior militant commanders said to be linked to operations that killed American and allied troops as well as implicated in murdering thousands of Shiites in Afghanistan, were flown from Cuba in the custody of officials from Qatar, who will accompany them back to that Persian Gulf state.”
Consider this statement for a few minutes. In order to garner the release of one of our own, the US government has released five people whose actions have caused the deaths of multiple US soldiers and thousands of innocent civilians.
In what world, is that a fair trade?
Secondly, think about the message this exchange sends i.e. that of a “superpower” who had a massive presence in a country but couldn’t find its missing soldier for years and then could only get its soldier back because of a third-party – Qatar is the clear winner here.
This action now puts every American soldier and – more importantly – international aid worker in jeopardy. It sets up a terrible precedent that will cause more kidnappings and deaths into the future.
I am glad Sgt Bergdahl is being reunited with his family. However, his release will result in a massive boon for his captors who were able to generate the release of their commanders while simultaneously showing the world that the only effective way to get what anyone wants from the US is to kidnap its citizens.