Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai confirmed this week that his government is now engaging in trilateral peace talks with the Taliban and the United States to end the 10-year war. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, however, opposes any talks with the insurgent group. “The right course for America is not to negotiate with the Taliban while the Taliban are killing our soldiers,” Romney said during a debate last month.
Not only does Romney’s own foreign policy adviser disagree with Romney on this issue, but also, one of Romney’s top supporters with national security and foreign policy credentials, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), takes issue with that position. Today on ABC’s This Week, McCain said “it’s important” to talk to the Taliban. When host Jake Tapper asked McCain to square that with Romney’s view, McCain dodged, saying he hasn’t talked with the former Massachusetts governor on the issue:
TAPPER: Are those talks a mistake?
MCCAIN: No I think it’s important to have talks wherever you can. But I also think that it’s important to remember that we have to have an outcome on the battlefield that would motivate a successful conclusion to those talks. …
TAPPER: The reason I ask sir is that Mitt Romney says that there should be no negotiation with the Taliban whereas I’ve heard you say in the past, you make peace with your enemies and that’s who you need to negotiate with so on this issue…you and Mitt Romney disagree.
MCCAIN: Well I haven’t had a conversation with him but I’m sure that Mitt Romney would like to have a peaceful solution.
McCain isn’t the only Romney surrogate to take issue with Romney’s policies this week. Former GOP presidential candidate and U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman last week criticized Romney’s China policy, calling it “wrongheaded” and suggested that Romney, and other presidential candidates, engage in “less pandering” when talking about China.