Across the world and especially in America there’s a great deal of both outrage and confusion over Obama choosing to exchange five very high-level Taliban commanders in Gitmo for the deserter and probable defector, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. What I believe that most people don’t understand is that there was a well thought out political reason for Obama deciding to make this deal with the Devil.
Obama wasn’t negotiating with terrorists. He was legitimizing the Taliban as an enemy power with national / governmental standing – and the Taliban know this.
You Have The Watches. We Have The Time
The celebrations raging across the Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan aren’t just because of release of the prisoners; they’re because of what the prisoners’ release signifies. It’s a very geopolitically significant victory for the Taliban and is the harbinger of an even greater victory for them – Afghanistan.
Obama has chosen to surrender Afghanistan by the end of this year, knowing that President Hamid Karzai’s government won’t survive more than 2 years after that. Taking this very noticeable step in recognizing and legitimizing the Taliban was a necessary step towards his goal since the Taliban will shortly be once again Afghanistan’s titular government.
NOTE: Any and all central governments in Afghanistan at titular in nature. Terrain and tribal structures conspire to make many areas essentially autonomous.
On top of that, I’m sure Obama wants as orderly as possible withdrawal of our troops, preferably with a coincidental reduction in Taliban attacks. Making both a significant concession to the Taliban and a first step towards “rapprochement” with them greatly increases the chances of this happening and his avoiding a repeat of our flight from Vietnam.
That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my opinion of the realpolitiks of Obama’s trading 5 Taliban senior commanders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.