Office of the President

President Reiss Wrote the Book on Talking to Terrorists

September 30, 2012
His Negotiating with Evilshares lessons from his own experience as a diplomat and from other major players on the frontlines of foreign policy.  

Mitchell B. Reiss’s most recent book answers two of the most pressing questions facing America’s leaders today: Should we ever talk to terrorists? And if we do, how should we conduct the negotiations in order to achieve our goals?

In writing Negotiating with Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists, which Open Road Integrated Media issued as an original e-book in the fall of 2010, he drew in part from his own experiences as a high-level negotiator in two diplomatic hot spots, Northern Ireland and North Korea. He also shared lessons from dozens of other major players in the realms of foreign policy and terrorism, including General David Petraeus, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, former leaders of the Basque terrorist group ETA, and the Director General of the British intelligence agency MI5.

“Over the past three years, I’ve traveled around the world interviewing prime ministers, generals, intelligence officers and former terrorists,” he said at the time of the book’s release. “My goal has been to explore why and when governments have decided to talk to terrorist groups, understand the mistakes they’ve made and reveal the victories they’ve achieved.”

Negotiating with Evil looks at the complex political, military and ethical choices of five governments, gauges how they’ve fared and provides guidelines for the future. “These lessons are invaluable as America and other democracies will increasingly be confronted with similar choices: when to settle differences with terrorist groups by fighting or by talking,” Reiss added.

Reiss wrote two previous books on international security—Bridled Ambition: Why Countries Constrain Their Nuclear Capabilities, and Without the Bomb: The Politics of Nuclear Nonproliferation.

Last modified on Nov. 16th, 2012 at 2:38pm by Kay MacIntosh.