Would the US negotiate with terrorists if the POTUS was kidnapped?

Let’s say that the Pres was held in an undisclosed location after having been the vicitim of a kidnapping. There is proof that he is safe. He will not be harmed if his captors get what they want. We have 72 hours. No counter-negotiations.

What would the US be willing to give up or do for his safe return?

Withdraw from Iraq?
A small thermonuclear device?
A Trillion dollars?

or nothing. Would we stick to our policy of non-negotiations and learn from our mistakes and give the keys to the oval office to the VP? (After bombing the crap out of whatever country claimed responsibility, unless, god forbid, it was a group from within the US.)


Logically, the answer is nothing. The standard policy of nations is not to negotiate with terrorists. But if the president was kidnapped, I suspect that unofficial persons would make contact and deliver vast sums of money.

You think the rest of the country would stand behind that decision, especially if they only requested money?

Most of us, not that it matters. Negotiating with terrorists is a terrible idea, and that it is the PoTUS that got nabbed doesn’t change that. We have a chain of command and all sorts of succession plans for just those situations.

That’s the advantage of democracies - elected officials are disposeable commodities. Kill one, we’ll just elect another.

Since we weren’t willing to negotiate to end it peacefully, does that mean that we can’t retaliate with a broad and aggressive military strike against the group that was responsible?
Or is that not a logical step?

a recue attempt may be tried. i doubt the person would remain potus though as the kidnappers may have done something that would compromise pres. abilities.

on to the next potus.

Not a logical step. We certainly don’t give up the beating-stick just because we didn’t try to negotiate with them.

hehe… well considering the recent election I bet more than a few would be willing to pay the terrorists not to give back the president ! :slight_smile: At least Cheney would have to be up front about being the real person in power.

Why negotiate a single life with terrorists ? Especially a useless politician ? (I think all of them are useless… Bush only especially)

If the secret service allowed our President to be kidnapped by terrorists, I believe we would offer plenty of money but nothing else.

As a nation, we have measures to fill his shoes in the event this extremely unlikely situation would happen.

If terrorists kidnapped the PUSA, first of all, ethics aside, bravo, that would be one helluva coup to pull off. That being said, with the current administration, they could keep him and make him their leader. He’d probably end up doing more damage to them in their hands than in ours.

Considering a non-partisan hypothetical PUSA, I don’t think he should be ransomed. I doubt any real terrorist cell would hold him for ransom anyway, but assuming they did, they’d probably leave us with a corpse. In any case, I agree, he shouldn’t be bought back. A valiant rescue effort can be made by US special forces and such, Veep gets promoted, and the system trucks along. An advantage to not having a centralized dictatorship - you have to kill a helluva lot of people before you destabilize the system.

While no doubt there are conditions under which the US would negotiate with terrorists I very much doubt the kidnapping of the president is one of them. The stakes are both too high and too low.

Just opinion here as Rashak (as usual) has opened that door. I say we pay the cash, get the Pres back, and make sure he gets to personally push the button.

I concur with Brutus. :eek:

The Presidency as an institution is not reliant on any single man to continue. If the President is captured, the Vice President could immediately take over as Acting President.

Any concession to terrorists will ultimately produce even more terrorism. If we give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.

We would trade arms for the hostage and then blame the other party for being weak. And then the person who did the trading would get a radio talk show and become a national hero.

I agree with both Brutus and Blalron. I doubt that there would be much serious negotiation at all, just enough to keep the unfortunate dolts talking so the SS could zero in on them, and bring to bear every piece of military hardware at their disposal (which is a LOT, believe me).

I think it’s naïve to think there would be no communication whatsoever. The experience of the UK with respect to Northern Ireland indicates to me that, despite negotiating with terrorists being a bad idea, such negotiations happen all the time in secret. Thatcher was publically giving “no quarter” to the IRA, but meanwhile her intel people were in communication with them. I wouldn’t doubt that the CIA would negotiate in secret, even if it was just to say “we’re coming to kill you”.

jjimm… you always “negotiate” its another thing to actually do something in exchange.

DanBlather hit it on the nail… Reagan negotiated in secret and still came off as a hero… so much for “not negotiating” and tough stances.

De Vito / Midler film “Ruthless People” anyone ? She gets kidnapped - he doesnt want her back. She does the kidnappers’ heads in, they want rid too ! Class.