Washington D.C. - Secretary of State John Kerry addressed a variety of issues at the 3rd Annual Transformational Trends Policy last night.
One of which was the controversial issue of U.S. ransom policy.
ISIS has killed four Americans: journalist James Foley, journalist Steven Sotloff, a female aid worker and most recently, Peter Kassig, another aid worker.
Should we pay a ransom to hostage takers to get our beloved citizens home safe? Do we keep a hard line with no concessions or negotiation to terrorist groups to discourage more kidnappings?
The current U.S. hostage negotiation policy is consistent with the latter question, denying rewards and concessions to kidnappers, including any negotiation.
Kerry explained, “And as for kidnapping, the United States has set a heart-rending but absolutely necessary example by refusing to pay ransom for captured Americans. Last year the U.N. Security Council and the G8 firmly endorsed an identical policy, and all of the evidence shows that where and if a country has paid a ransom, there are many more people who are taken hostage.”
CBS News senior national security analyst Juan Zarate explains that terrorist groups “have created an industry around kidnap-for-ransom. They have raise millions of dollars around that because European countries, unlike the U.S. and Britain, pay ransom for their hostages.”
The U.S. argument is that this type of behavior encourages the continuation of kidnapping because they will see their demands accepted without consequences.
The European approach seems more humane, but only encourages more kidnapping, putting more of its citizens at risk. While the U.S. policy might look ineffective with four deaths, it shuts down a potential cash flow for terrorist groups and promotes a strong political stance against the kidnapping group.
With that being said, President Obama has ordered for a comprehensive review of policy dictating how the U.S. government tries to secure the freedom of Americans held hostge by terrorist abroad.
Source: Politico / Photo Credit: Associated Press