Monday, June 02, 2014
Sometimes PR is a zero-sum activity. One might win respect and reputation from one audience but lose it with another. That happened over the weekend with President Obama. His Taliban prisoner swap for an American POW was looked upon positively by many Americans but not all. Several senators and congressmen considered it a bad deal, and the president of Afghanistan is miffed. One rarely can please everyone, but Obama took a decision based on a moment's opportunity, showing that he is capable of rapid action. Now the issue is the former POW himself. There is rumor that he should never have been caught in the first place had he stayed where he belonged. Some say he deserted, but the circumstances are unclear. If the President knows, he isn't talking. If it turns out to be true that the young man was derelict, the President will earn a black eye for turning over five top leaders to get him back. And, as one critic pointed out, the Taliban now know an American prisoner is valuable. Expect them to try to capture another. Should they do so, the net result will be negative and not zero sum.