With the release of Basketball star Brittney Griner who was held for 10 months in a Russian Prison Camp, Many Americans are feeling excited for the star to be back on American soil after a prisoner swap for Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death. 

Many believe the United States was slow to react in opening up discussions to bring Griner home once she was held captive. The hesitation has always been there by America when it comes to communicating the release of captives. 

This was even evident back in 2012 when the Rev. Jesse Jackson helped negotiate the release of Navy veteran Tamsir Jasseh and former University of Tennessee professor Amadou Janneh after a five-hour meeting with Gambia President Yahya Jammeh.

It opens up the discussion once again for the question Should the United States Negotiate with Terrorists? For decades, politicians in the US have regularly stated emphatically that ‘we do not negotiate with terrorists. 

The argument is that it is morally indefensible and impractical and that it will cause a domino effect in likely encouraging more terrorism. However, other countries and governments have negotiated with terrorist groups and have paid millions in ransom to bring home journalists and aid workers captured by (ISIS) in Syria. 

The United States’ position on negotiating with terrorists is that they believe the best way of stopping hostage-taking by terrorists is to remove the incentive. America believes paying ransoms, for instance, helps terrorist groups maintain control over territory and fuels further terrorism and hostage-taking. 

My take on it is that we should always do everything in our power to bring our Americans home safely and to support their families. As American citizens, we should feel at ease knowing that if we were to ever be captured that our government would move swiftly in helping us get home. Even though the Britney Griner release is a win for the United States today, this is still an uphill battle when it comes to hostage negotiations.


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