I Got Nothing

Ken AshfordTrump & Administration, War On ChristmasLeave a Comment

Sometimes Trump does shit that is so alarming that you just can’t get your head around it.

Here are Trump’s tweets on… well, read them.

Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to..

….an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they….

….only made it worse! If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?

What the actual fuck? The people behind 9/11 were being invited to Camp David just days before the anniversary of that horrible event? What is Trump’s obsession with elevating dictators and terrorists to the world stage as if they were co-equal in status to the United States?

Here’s why it was a thing, I’m sure: Trump wanted to be seen as the guy who made the deal.

Peace negotiations with the Taliban have been led by former Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, working under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They’ve substantially excluded the government of Afghanistan, including President Ashraf Ghani. The idea of inviting Taliban leaders to the U.S. emerged when the talks were close to a deal, The New York Times reports. The Taliban only wanted to come if the deal had been finalized, but Trump had other ideas: “Mr. Trump did not want the Camp David meeting to be a celebration of the deal; after staying out of the details of what has been a delicate effort in a complicated region, Mr. Trump wanted to be the dealmaker who would put the final parts together himself, or at least be perceived to be.”

Only at that point was Ghani brought into the process—and even then, though he was invited to the U.S., he wasn’t privy to most of the details.

And then it all fell apart. Trump realized that it would be a bad look to bring the Taliban to the U.S. immediately after a U.S. soldier was killed in a car bombing. But where it was expected to fall apart quietly, with just a few people knowing it had ever been planned, Trump had other ideas, and of course they involved Twitter. “The tweets took many in the administration by surprise; there was no reason for Mr. Trump to reveal what had happened, several officials said, especially since he has not given up on the idea of a negotiated settlement,” the Times reports. But instead, Trump used the tweets to posture about how … he draws the line at meeting in the U.S. with a group that had just killed a soldier for leverage. Because he’s confident that his followers are going to see that as strength instead of focusing on how exactly things got to that point.