It has been a longstanding policy to never negotiate with what the United States considers terrorists or terrorist-sponsoring states. However, it appears that stance has softened in recent years and could be completely reversed given the news surrounding negotiations to release American al-Qaeda hostage Warren Weinstein.

Report from WMAL:

The U.S. government is working “behind the scenes” to secure the release of American al-Qaeda hostage Warren Weinstein, the State Department claims in response to comments made by Weinstein’s family in an exclusive interview Monday on Good Morning America.

Elaine Weinstein, the 72-year-old’s wife, had told GMA that al-Qaeda’s demands for her husband’s release were beyond her control but said that the U.S. government won’t tell her much about what — if anything — they’re doing to help.

“We have called immediately on the terrorists holding him to release him,” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters hours after the broadcast. “We also continue to actively work with the Pakistani authorities to try and secure his release…We’re going to keep working with the Pakistanis, working behind the scenes and then the FBI, of course, is involved as well… to try to secure his release. And we’re certainly committed to doing that, as we all are with all American citizens who are being held overseas.”

Weinstein was working as a consultant in Lahore, Pakistan, helping with community projects, when gunmen stormed into his apartment and took him captive more than two years ago. In December 2011, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced Osama bin Laden, announced his terror organization was holding Weinstein.

If the US is working “behind the scenes,” what could we be offering in exchange for Weinstein’s release? Does this set a dangerous precedent and make Americans less safe around the world if we begin negotiating ransoms?


  1. Nate: Hasn’t the current administration been negotiating with al Qaeda for two years or so now for a peace settlement?

  2. I apologize for this long answer, but I think it is intriguing. The writer says that events are controlled by the strong. The side in the strong position will win, one way or the other. He sort of says that negotiation is equivalent to having the angry kid count to ten before he beats up the other kid. Maybe they’ll come up with an alternative action, but the act of negotiation does not change the dynamic.


    Here’s the quote from “Ms. Stevie II:”

    Okay, negotiations with “terrorist” usually give time to the strongest player to eventually handle the problem in some way. The “terrorist” doesn’t win just because negotiations take place, like too many imply. The US had negotiated with the PLO, the Taliban, North Korea, Iran, or whoever else you want to use as a definition of “terrorist”. Negotiations happen and at the end of the day the strongest side does what they do. Police negotiate with criminals until the police accomplish their aims. The US didn’t just blow up the Somalian pirates without consideration, they conveyed that no deals would be made, messages were exchanged, time was taken, then the US acted. The US negotiated with the Nazis and Imperial Japanese to surrender. The US negotiated with “terrorist” in Iraq to turn them against others. Negotiations work for the strongest player, buying time is not defeat. Negotiating is not copitulating.


    Negotiating is not new. Reagan said he wouldn’t negotiate with terrorists, but when he did, he got our hostages back from Lebanon.

    As JFK said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”

    The way I see it, refusing to talk to anyone is just a sign of weakness. “No” is a fully appropriate negotiating stance.

    • Goethe:

      Just one small correction to your post. The United States negotiated TERMS OF SURRENDER WITH JAPAN AND NAZI GERMANY. They we’re defeated and quite willing to surrender therefore they were capitulating. The terms of negotiations weren’t dealt with as give and take but unconditional surrender. There is a difference between that and what Nate is referring to.

      Heck there is a difference between both of those and how we ended both Korea and Vietnam.

      In regard to Nate’s piece it should come as no surprise that we are negotiating. I believe the President said it right out front before the 2008 elections that he is “willing to talk to anyone with no conditions.”

    • Goethe Bore —you gotta respond to each thread, just can’t help yourself being the forum’s troll…LOL.

      You stand for nothing. You are nothing but a fence sitter. You’ll post anything on either side of the argument just for the sake of posting.

      And when someone exposes your usual tripe, you vent your hatred at that poster by attempting to be “cleverly funny”.

      You have never been clever, nor funny, here. You are just a nincompoop that can’t help himself replying to each, and every single, thread with whatever silliness pops into your foolish head.

  3. Negotiating with any criminal or anti moral law person or group including “terrorists’ is the appropriate thing to do until the group “in the right” has the winning hand or position.

    • Sam;
      That is the way the North Vietnamese looked at it ,negotiate until you have the winning hand. Then eventually the view of our country changed enough where we just wanted it to end and we negotiated the war away.

      The results of which still affect our foreign policy today.

  4. Here’s my questions:

    The administration is willing to negotiate with any terrorist group………
    EXCEPT THE TEA PARTY AND republicans ?

    How does negotiating your way out of foreign policy quagmires you got yourself into affect your image toward your allies? Do you really think Taiwan believes we have their back against mainland China?

  5. Bob…are you suggesting that the Tea Party and Republicans are of terrorist groups? If you go back in history, you will find that no president, regardless of party affiliations, got into foreign policy quagmires all by himself.

    Taiwan is a self-ruled nation of 23 million people that China regards as an indivisible part of its territory awaiting reunification. The United States continues to adhere to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the Six Assurances to Taiwan and the 1982 Joint Communiqué with China signed by President Reagan. Our annual deliveries of defensive weaponry to Taiwan cost the United States 941 million dollars in 2012 alone. Congressional approval is needed for these sales so Taiwan has acceptable reasons to believe we have her back. Russian arms sales to China have continued to grow and play a significant role in shifting the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait firmly in Beijing’s favors. Would you negotiate or would you go to war?

  6. Tess;

    I am not suggesting anything but simply pointing out the hypocrisy of the views of the President and DNC are toward terrorist from their past statements. They have said on numerous occasions that the republicans and especially the Tea Party are terrorist which they refuse to negotiate with.

    Next you are correct about Taiwan being a self ruled nation that we have a defense treaty with……..BUT THIS ISN’T 1979 OR 1982 ANYMORE! America is wary and weary of getting involved with any foreign wars. In addition Beijing suffered little consequences when they altered it’s “Air Defense Identification Zone” policy recently not to mention the 1600 missiles they have aimed at Taiwan. China has been known to be patient and I’m not suggesting they intend to invade Taiwan but I truly believe they think that President Obamas “pivot move” in the Far East is hollow and more of a diplomatic verbal exercise. As the enclosed article below suggest they can afford to be patient as the United States over extends itself and not look as a malicious nation. Finally Taiwan suffers under the same image that Israel suffers under on the world stage……as an outcast or rogue nation.

    Why does China think President Obama’s pivot move hollow? Because of his and Americas in general history over the past 40 years of abandoning allies for the immediate benefit of supporting questionable leaders. Because our countries economy is stretched to the limits and our concern has been in the Middle East for the past 40 years. And finally because we as a nation are war weary!

    • Bob..All political parties lapse into hypocrisy. Democrats should not have called the Tea Party/Republicans “terrorists”. Ted Cruz’ father should not have called Barrack Obama an “outright Marxist” and the ever entertaining John McCain should not have called his counterparts “wacko birds”. As for refusing to negotiate…that is a serious fault found in all three parties.

      Beijing’s “Air Defense Identification Zone” is not recognized by any nation. Flights by other nations continue through the zone without Chinese resistance. Maybe not forever but that is the present situation.

      The “pivot move” you refer to is of great concern to China. The United States has 320,000 troops in the Pacific region, and quietly adding to this number. Under an agreement with Australia, an additional battalion of 1,000 Marines are in Darwin. By 2016, the Marines are expected to number 2,500. The Pentagon has shifted weaponry, such as the B-1 and B-52 long-range bombers and Global Hawk drones to the Pacific from Afghanistan. This past summer, India and Russia, as guests of the US, participated for the first time in Hawaii in the world’s largest international maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific, but the United States excluded China, which did draw a protest from Beijing. To strengthen our defense in the Asia-Pacific region, the Pentagon’s plans are for new ships, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets and P-8 Poseidon maritime reconnaissance planes.

      You wrote of America abandoning allies to support questionable leaders. Who did you have in mind?

      If America is war weary nation, there is an answer. Vote out the Congress men and women who allot over 50% of the budgets to warfare.

      • Tess;

        You questioned my meaning as to how the republicans and Tea Party are perceived in your original post of 1st of January @ 12:57PM. By using the frequent excuse that everyone uses hypocrisy does not permit you to excuse it by a wave of hand when I provided proof. In addition I can not see any connection when you said “all political parties lapse into hypocrisy” and use Senator Cruz’s father as an example. He has no association with a political party.

        Chinas “Air Defense Identification Zone” is an attempt by China to set an aerial demarcation line of where they NOW consider territory claimed by the Peoples Republic just as they set a new strategic ambiguity with a map of “Nine Dotted Line” in January 2013 for the South China Sea(see below). And they take these lines VERY SERIOUS as witnessed by the troubles with the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and the USS Cowpen incident (which we retreated from).

        We originally were talking about Taiwan which China takes even more seriously than the previously mentioned islands and somehow you morphed the conversation into troop strength in the Pacific Rim. Interesting facts but we have always had troops and an arsenal in the Pacific. In addition the figures you give may not even have any relation to the Presidents “Pacific Pivot” stratagem. Make no mistake China and Russia want to replace America as the number 1 player in the Pacific.

        A strong defense is and always will be needed as witnessed by the constant changing makeup of world events. Perhaps an even more sensible idea would be not to vote out members of Congress who allocate money for defense but re-thinking our priorities for getting into international engagements without an exit plan or looking beyond our nose to see where it will end and who is to lead after we leave?

        • Bob…I used Rafael Cruz’s statement because he traveled and spoke extensively as his son’s political representative. I attended one of his rallys in Hood County,Texas and what I quoted was one of his milder statements. To update yourself, simply google his name.

  7. Tess;

    I neglected to answer your last question concerning “Would you negotiate or go to war?” By reading your post that outlines our treaty obligations I can assume you believe we should go to war? I’m sure we both can agree that of course it depends on the circumstances. However we can be reasonably assured that while China is flexing their muscles with the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and the recent USS Cowpen incident they will keep the status quo intact.

    Taiwan is opposed to being part of a non-democratic China and the Peoples Republic doesn’t want additional resistance than they are experiencing from groups on the mainland. In addition any hostile move they make would only bring memories of Japan’s takeover in W.W.II. Finally it is highly unlikely they could acquire any kind of independent economic status like Hong Kong enjoys.

    • Bob…In no way, did I indicate that I believed in going to war. I do believe that if we sign a treaty, we are bound by it’s words until we nullify it. I feel the same way about a handshake deal.

      The Diaoyu/ Senkaku islands, a clutch of five uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, have raised the spectre of military conflict. If possession is nine-tenths of the law, the answer is: Japan. It claims to have “discovered” the islands, belonging to no one, in 1884. In 1895, Japan annexed them, shortly after Japan had defeated China in a brief war and seized Taiwan, as war spoils. Upon Japan’s defeat in 1945, control fell to the Americans, who used the islands for bombing practice. In 1972, at the end of the American occupation, the Japanese government resumed responsibility for the Senkakus. By then, oil and gas reserves had been identified under the seabed surrounding the islands. China, which calls them the Diaoyu islands, quickly asserted its claim The islands were known to the Chinese because they served as navigational way points but history does not show China ever owned them. Taiwan, closest to the islands. also claims them. September 2012, the Japanese government bought from their private owner three of the islands it did not already own. Chinese nationalists call for the Senkakus’ to be acknowledged as belonging to China. They want Okinawa too.

      The USS Cowpen incident was a planned encounter to display the strength and command of China in Asian waters. To the American Commander should go our navy’s highest honor. The Chinese will not forget their failure We will hear from them again.

      World Trade Organization statistics show Taiwan as the world’s 17th-largest exporter and 18th-largest importer of merchandise. Taiwan is one of the most powerful players in the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry, it is also a major supplier of other goods,from chlorella health food supplements to powered wheelchairs. Taiwan has an independent economy. July 1, 1997 Hong Kong was officially transferred from the UK to China and it became the first special administrative region of China, with the understanding that it would get a high level of independence for at least 50 years. Thirty three years to go.

      • Tess:

        I’m not going to answer most of your above post because while it’s impressive Wikipedia it’s irrelevant to what we were discussing.

        If you are insinuating that the USS Cowpen incident during one of their military exercises was planned on our part you can’t be that naïve. If you are saying it was instigated by them then we had no reason to be in the area when they are conducting a military exercise. The simple reason for that being when ever counties schedule military exercises they warn other nations in advance so that they stay clear. Below you will find an article from “Stars and Stripes” dated 19th December 2013 entitled “Hagel Calls Chinese Actions toward USS Cowpen Irresponsible”

        “Navy’s highest honor” my ………

        • Bob….you read into my words things that were never there. None of what I wrote came from Wikipedia so look further for rebuttal. To make my personal thoughts clear: The USS Cowpen was in International waters in the South China Sea running surveillance on the Liaoning. A Chinese warship warned the Cowpens to halt its course. The Cowpens ignored the order. A Chinese tank landing ship then positioned itself directly in front of the Cowpens, a guided missile warship. It took incredible maneuvering to avoid a collision that would have created an international incident. Yes, I think the Navy should give a medal to the captain of the Cowpens. Yes, I think the actions of the Chinese Navy was intentional..

          • Tess:

            I don’t attempt to twist your words or read anything into them. I refuse to be distracted by responding to facts about Taiwan’s yearly imports when the discussion was about defending Taiwan against mainland China. Nor respond to the history of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. I have little idea where you get your information because you don’t enclose any links. If it isn’t from Wikipedia or any other source then they must be based solely on “YOUR PERSONAL THOUGHTS” as you stated above. I can respect your thoughts but they seem to be one sided and based on heresay.

            Below you will find THE NOTICE ISSUED BY CHINA ABOUT THEM HOLDING MILITARY MENEAVUERS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA AND OTHER COUNTRIES SHOULD STAY CLEAR. Any possible international incident may have been caused by the American Officier.


            • Bob…without comment I have read each of the Communist inspired papers you attach to your posts. If you believe and accept the party lines of this newspaper…you are living in the wrong country. No further comment needed.

  8. Tess:

    In regard to your 3rd January @2:48PM post

    I am a child of the 60’s and after I came home from Vietnam I have learned over the years that one does not believe everything our government spits out as gospel. Calling me a communist may bring warmth to your heart and a feeling of closure to this argument but your total argument seems to be based on opinion and “My country right or wrong”.

    Perhaps you need to look outside your comfort zone at the total picture.

    • Bob…You certainly tagged me on one point. I am an American. The United States is “My country right or wrong”.

      Being a child of the 60’s or having served in Vietnam is no excuse for posting Chinese propaganda as facts.

      I am thankful that living in the United States does give me a “comfort zone”. From my posts you should understand that I do not “believe everything our government spits out is gospel”. Just as I strongly believe China’s Newspapers do not print gospel.

      You over obsess. I did not call you a Communist. I said ” If you believe and accept the party lines of this newspaper…you are living in the wrong country”. This statement did not bring warmth to my heart. It did bring grave concern to my mind. I guess another question I would have is: If you believe the Chinese newspaper description of the USS Cowpens incident you posted, then you refute the report of the US Naval Captain of the Cowpens. If this is your “big picture”, you’re right, I don’t get it.

      • Tess;

        Well it looks like we’ll have to agree that we disagree.

        Your habit of waving your hand to dismiss anything you don’t wish to hear is alarming for the future of OUR COUNTRY. It is actions such as that, that has gotten us to the war weary nation we are today. Our foreign policy seems to be overthrowing one dictator who has supported us only to be forced to go back and overthrow his successor that we supported. It’s a foreign policy not based on principles or consequences but spur of the moment whim. And it is making America look foolish and unreliable as an ally throughout the world.

        I have provided background from a number of sources both from outside and inside the communist viewpoint. It was from official sources, newspapers and experts in their field. I have yet to see anything but personal opinion on your part.

        I can’t see any point on continuing this any further. It’s be a pleasure having this conversation with you.

  9. Tess;

    I neglected to include this thought.

    As far as refuting the Captain of the Cowpen’s report. We received only the official version from the Pentagon NOT THE CAPTAIN’s which brings to mind the Tonkin Gulf incident in 1964 and our escalation into the Vietnam War.

    • Bob…you dismissed me by saying “can’t see any point on continuing this any further”. So please don’t post any more of your neglected thoughts to me unless you want a reply.

Comments are closed.