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Never negotiate with terrorists?

  1. Jul 12, 2004 #1
    I know that the USA has a policy of not negotiating with terrorists, but what if there were a really reasonable terrorist? Like another USA soldier or whatever is kidnapped, videotaped, and a ransom of something petty is given, just to see if the USA would bend to their will at all? Say a terrorist wanted $100 for the life of a USA soldier, wouldn't the guy who said "NO NEGOTIATION!" be hated amongst all americans if the hostage was killed because he didn't even want to try giving the terrorists $100?

    Of course no terrorist would ask for $100, they all want total troop withdrawl, just a random hypothetical.
     
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  3. Jul 13, 2004 #2

    AKG

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    It's a tough question, no simple answer. It would be hasty to say that no negotiation is necessarily the one best answer, but it has it's pros and cons, and at some point you have to decide on a strategy. In reality, you probably have to just try out strategies and do what works best. Now, negotiating sets a bad precedence. After all, what if the person says, "I want $100 more." Or what if one person asks for 100, gets it, and the next asks for 200, the next terrorist asks for 500, 1000, 1 million, etc. Also, someone might want to look at the pros and cons of terrorism, i.e. the pros are that you might get the ransom, the cons are that you might get killed/caught. A no-negotation policy eliminates any chance that the terrorist will have any pros in choosing terrorism.

    However, a terrorist might want to call your bluff. He might say that I have a man hostage, I just want $100. He thinks that you won't really stick to your ideals. Would you be better off having sent the message to terrorists that you won't negotiate with terrorists, and will have lost, say 10 lives, or are you better off with 10 lives, having lost $100 and lost credibility when you say that there are no pros for terrorists? It's hard to just say that the human lives are worth maintaining credibility, but in the long run, credibility might be what saves more humans. Again, on the other hand, despite this policy there is still terrorism. What if every idiot tries to call your bluff? Then, in the name of maintaining credibility, you will just keep losing lives (because some terrorists will not think you're credible no matter what).

    So basically:
    no-negotiation: maintains credibility which may save later lives, but only works if future terrorists really take your credibility into account.
    negotiation: saves lives, this is a key bonus, but loses plenty of money and of course maybe even some lives, allows terrorists to disrupt life and gives them no reason to avoid terrorism.

    If terrorists are expected to be reasonable enough (and take credibility into account), then we shouldn't negotiate, if they are not reasonable at all, then we may as well negotiate if the losses are less than the gains. Determining how reasonable terrorists will be is very tough, very subjective, and very complicated, and this is why there is really no clear-cut answer as to what the best approach is.
     
  4. Jul 13, 2004 #3
    If you say your not going to negotiate with terrorist its obvious that you're refering to tough situations like the one you stated so you should stick by your word. Besides not negotiating will show terrorists not to kidnap your citizens because they won't get what they want. Saving more lives in the long run.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2004 #4
    Actually the USA government has a history of dealing with those they label terrorists.
     
  6. Jul 13, 2004 #5

    loseyourname

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    They don't negotiate with those directly threatening the US or its property or citizens through the use of terror.
     
  7. Jul 13, 2004 #6
    officially they dont
     
  8. Jul 13, 2004 #7
  9. Jul 13, 2004 #8
    If you give them $100, then they know you can be rolled.

    It's like Winston Churchill who wanted to know if a certain woman would sleep with him for a million dollars. When the woman said yes, Winston said that he now knew what she was, all he had to do was figure out the price.

    Sorry if I butchered the original story. But I find it directly applicable to the situation.

    RE: "no-negotiation: maintains credibility which may save later lives, but only works if future terrorists really take your credibility into account."

    You assume a level of reason in terrorists that doesn't exist. They're not looking for credibility in the U.S.'s stance, only weakness. You show them a weakness, and they will try everything to exploit it.
     
  10. Jul 13, 2004 #9
    We don't negotiate, not even for 100 bucks.

    That doesn't meant hat private agents, speaking on behalf of the government, don't go in and try to broker a deal.
    However, as we have seen, negotiating at any public or large payoff is out of the question - as it should be.
     
  11. Jul 13, 2004 #10
  12. Jul 13, 2004 #11

    AKG

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    A terrorist with nothing to lose will not care if you show weakness, he will try to make a weakness. You have innocent lives to lose, certain terrorists have nothing to lose, so a no-negotation policy won't help in this case.
     
  13. Jul 13, 2004 #12
    hehehe... good point, retrospectively...

    i guess it's all about putting a price on human life... say we were to put a decent price of about 2000$ on a mans head and maybe 2200-2500$ for a woman or a child (remember, it's all about public oppinion)..
    how about half a barrel of oil? there seems to be a market for life in exchange for oil and wealth these days...

    i think you should check with halliburton to see what the price is up to now...
     
  14. Jul 13, 2004 #13
    RE: "A terrorist with nothing to lose will not care if you show weakness, he will try to make a weakness."

    In terms of giving in to demands, terrorists cannot make that weakness. Only by caving in to demands can the weakness appear.

    RE: "You have innocent lives to lose, certain terrorists have nothing to lose, so a no-negotation policy won't help in this case."

    But terrrorists operate because they think we can be rolled. And by giving in to demands (no matter how small), we will prove them right.


    RE: "I repeat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_Affair"

    Irrelevant, since the Contras did not attack the US and were not using terror to extort the US. (And I am not sure it would be correct to call the Contras actual terrorists without applying the same label to every Rebel group in the world. Insurgency is a nasty business.)
     
  15. Jul 13, 2004 #14
    RE: "i guess it's all about putting a price on human life... say we were to put a decent price of about 2000$ on a mans head and maybe 2200-2500$ for a woman or a child (remember, it's all about public oppinion).. how about half a barrel of oil? there seems to be a market for life in exchange for oil and wealth these days..."

    Why do I get the impression that we could talk about water skiing and you would somehow, some way, insert the oil conspiracy argument?
     
  16. Jul 13, 2004 #15
    i have absolutely no doubt, that the war on iraq wasn't for oil related gains, so shut up smartass...
     
  17. Jul 13, 2004 #16

    selfAdjoint

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    Why should he shut up because of your mere state of belief? Who elected you?
     
  18. Jul 13, 2004 #17
    I vote that balkan should have position of Official Minister of Truth. After all, he has no doubt, that's more than good enough for me, since I have some doubts. He seems like a strong, decisive leader.
     
  19. Jul 13, 2004 #18
    Are you insane? Of coarse it was for oil! Atleast Bush Senior had the fortitude to come out straight with the American people and tell the truth when he first wanted to invade Iraq. Saying we should attack Iraq for the oil, of coarse the American people didn't buy it. So then he changed his story and said: "oh lets go in for democracy!" And the American people bought it. So now Junior is just saving some time and lying to us straight up.

    America could careless about the freedom of some colored third world country. If we did care then why did we just invade Iraq only? There are several other countries the US could have attacked that where just as oppressed as Iraq and a far bigger threat to the US, except they didn't contain oil reserves!
     
  20. Jul 14, 2004 #19
    RE: "Atleast Bush Senior had the fortitude to come out straight with the American people and tell the truth when he first wanted to invade Iraq. Saying we should attack Iraq for the oil, of coarse the American people didn't buy it. So then he changed his story and said: "oh lets go in for democracy!"

    Refresh my memory: When did Bush Sr. ever say anything about democracy?

    RE: "America could careless about the freedom of some colored third world country. If we did care then why did we just invade Iraq only?"

    We helped attack Serbia in order to support Muslims that were being oppressed. How much oil does Serbia have? What exactly did we gain out of that ordeal?

    I fail to see how the Iraqi invasion was all about oil. Our oil prices are higher now than they were before the invasion. Exactly how much oil did we get out of this deal? And where is it?

    RE: "There are several other countries the US could have attacked that where just as oppressed as Iraq and a far bigger threat to the US, except they didn't contain oil reserves!"

    I don't know of any country that is/was as oppressed as Iraq. Saddam Hussein was brutal beyond belief. But if you want to offer an example we can argue the point.
     
  21. Jul 14, 2004 #20
    Well DUH! The government wants you to go water skiing because when you drive the boat thats takes gas and the government wants you to spend all your money on gas!! :rofl:
     
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