No deal: Trump’s skills face new questions after scuttling of Afghan talks

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The president boasts of his negotiating prowess, but a string of setbacks on the world stage could ding that image in the 2020 election.

President Donald Trump’s boasts about his dealmaking skills may have helped him win in 2016. But after this weekend’s events, he has little to back up those claims on the world stage heading into 2020.

Trump announced Saturday on Twitter that he was canceling ongoing U.S. peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, including scrapping a secret meeting with the Islamist militia’s leaders and the Afghan president at the Camp David presidential retreat outside of Washington. He claimed that it was because the Taliban had been behind a recent attack that killed an American soldier.

The decision has imperiled what was, in the scope of Trump’s presidency, a relatively successful diplomatic effort so far to bring an end to the 18-year war in Afghanistan. It also adds to a growing list of Trump’s negotiating shortfalls — from Iran to North Korea to China — that gives ammunition to Democrats seeking to unseat him. The fact that the meeting could have happened the same week as the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks especially outraged Trump critics.

“This isn’t a game show. These are terrorists,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, said of the Taliban on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “The way he conducts foreign policy, this reminds me exactly of North Korea. He loves the showmanship. He wants to have that moment, but then all the details aren’t done, and then we end up in a worse place on the world stage than we were before.”

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