Talking to the Taliban
No matter how much leverage you hold over a country, it is rare that you can get it to act against its core self-interest. The United States has struggled with this dilemma for decades in regards to its relations with Israel and South Korea. Self-interest based on the facts of geography is what makes America’s relations with these two close allies particularly fractious. Israel has long refused to scale back settlements in the occupied territories, frustrating U.S. efforts at peacemaking, even as American soldiers die in Iraq and Afghanistan. Conversely, South Korea has, in certain periods, extended an olive branch to the North Korean communists, frustrating U.S. efforts to erect a strong, united front against the Pyongyang regime. Now the U.S. faces the same problem with another of its ostensible allies, Pakistan.