- Erin Scott/Reuters
- President Donald Trump just blew up a potential peace deal with the Taliban that would’ve seen a major chunk of US troops withdrawn from Afghanistan, the longest war in US history.
- Trump has repeatedly portrayed himself as a dealmaker but keeps bungling major negotiations on the global stage.
- From denuclearization talks with North Korea to the trade war with China, the president has pledged to make massive deals that have not materialized as crises across the world escalate.
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A week ago, the US seemed to be on the cusp of finalizing a peace deal with the Taliban. After nearly 18 years of conflict, the top US negotiator in US-Taliban talks said a deal had been met “in principle.” The deal would see roughly 5,400 troops withdrawn from five bases in the country within 135 days.
By Saturday, the prospect of an end to the longest war in US history had been blown-up by Trump. The president took to Twitter and announced he’d invited Taliban leaders and the Afghan president to Camp David for a secret meeting but decided to call it off at the last minute due to a recent Taliban attack in Afghanistan that killed a US soldier. Trump also said he’s ending all talks with the Taliban.
But the Taliban has been staging deadly attacks throughout talks with the US and at least 16 US soldiers have been killed during combat in Afghanistan this year, making Trump’s justification for abruptly calling off all negotiations somewhat dubious.
Trump was slammed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David, which is located in Maryland, so close to the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
On Monday, Trump said the talks with the Taliban “are dead,” raising more questions as to how and when the US will exit from the lengthy and costly war.
— ABC News (@ABC) September 9, 2019
Trump seems to be more skilled at breaking deals than making them
Here are other major talks Trump has either failed to secure a deal from or completely derailed:
- Trump during his 2016 campaign repeatedly said he would get Mexico to pay for the wall he wants to build along the southern border. Mexico is not paying for the wall, and instead, hundreds of Pentagon projects have been defunded to free up $3.6 billion in funding for fences and barriers – including a childcare facility for soldiers’ children in Maryland.
- Trump said he would get North Korea to agree to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. After two summits with Kim Jong Un as well as an impromptu meeting facilitated via tweet, North Korea has not denuclearized. North Korea has recently conducted missile tests that Trump has shrugged off as experts and former military officials warn about the risks posed to allies and US troops in the region.
- Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and began a maximum pressure campaign designed to cripple the Iranian economy with sanctions and squeeze Tehran into agreeing to a more stringent pact. But Iran has instead taken huge steps away from the 2015 deal and toward a potential nuclear weapon, which it’s using as leverage against US allies desperately scrambling to save the landmark agreement. The crisis has led to fears of another war in the Middle East.
- Trump’s “deal of the century” between Israel and Palestine, seemingly meant to bring peace to one of the most tumultuous regions in the world, has not materialized and his special envoy for Middle East peace just stepped down.
- Trump has also not secured a deal to end a trade war with China, despite his attempts to build leverage with controversial tariffs. Meanwhile, there are fears the trade war could send the global economy into a recession.
Trump’s supporters might point to his signing the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement as indicative of his ability to facilitate deals with other countries, but it has still not been ratified in Congress so nothing is set in stone.
“My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward,” Trump’s 1987 book “The Art of the Deal” states. “I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after.”
Trump has certainly aimed “very high” in the global arena as president, but so far there’s little evidence to support the notion he’s been able to get what he’s after through negotiation – no matter how much “pushing” has been involved.