We certainly do live in interesting times! A new decade (OK I know it doesn’t technically start until next year), and here we are barely two months in and the planet seems to be full on falling apart. Coronavirus is not only tearing the world apart, but literally closing the borders on what looked like the unstoppable charge of globalization.
And then, almost out of nowhere, and not 24 hours after condemned the bombing raid that had killed a number of Turkish soldiers in Syria America and the Taliban were signing peace treaties. Yes, that Taliban, the one that refused to give up Osama Bin-Laden, and have since then been fighting a guerrilla war to regain power.
I won’t go into huge details about the deal, as depending on who you ask, it is either the best deal on the planet (Trump and the Taliban), or the biggest sellout in history (everyone else).
The details aren’t so important (for this article), but in shorthand it involves The Taliban giving 1000 prisoners back to the government and getting 5000 in exchange (do the math). On the plus side it also involves the Taliban cutting ties with the reallllyyyy bad guys, like Al-Qaida, and ISIS, with the Americans slowly, but surely reducing troop numbers.
Following so far? Now, whether this is a good, or bad deal isn’t what I would like to debate here, nor is the reasoning for said deal, elections anyone? The main point of the deal is that the United States of America has agreed to COMPROMISE with a sworn enemy, and not just compromise, but in reality make some major concessions.
The basic tenets of the deal with the Taliban are gradual troop reductions from the US side, whilst negotiations continue, and the Taliban for its part keeps to its side of the bargain on certain points.
In reality this is not all that different to what the North Koreans were asking for at the summit in Hanoi. Sanctions relief in steps, accompanied by denuclearization in steps. This accompanied by gradual troop withdrawals was, from the outside at least what the DPRK negotiators were asking for.
No one, for now at least knows if the Taliban deal with come to anything, but it has at least, perhaps anyway showed a framework from which the DPRK, and the USA might be able to restart talks again.
After all, the Cold War is actually over……..