Talking With Russia Is Tempting — and Wrong

Source: Foreign Policy
by James Traub

“In the summer of 1814, U.S. and British negotiators gathered in Ghent in the hopes of putting an end to the war that had begun two years earlier when England invaded the United States. The British, confident of victory, demanded major territorial concessions …. News of the burning of Washington, which reached Europe in early October, tempted the Americans to concede. Instead, they stalled, hoping for good news. That news soon arrived in the form of U.S. victories around Lake Champlain and in Baltimore. Just before Christmas, the British withdrew all demands and agreed to postpone the most contentious issues for future discussion. The Treaty of Ghent put an end to the era when U.S. sovereignty was threatened. The moral of this story is that premature diplomacy during warfare is a mistake; the dynamism of the battlefield must be allowed to shape the conditions of negotiation.” (11/16/22)