In suggesting in his press conference with President Karzai that he will not negotiate with the Taliban until the U.S. military has demonstrated “effectiveness in breaking their momentum”, President Obama seemed to be embracing the shibboleth that you don’t negotiate with an adversary until you can do so from a “position of strength”. But when your strength is built on sand, as it is in Afghanistan, the notion that you must “negotiate from strength” is the worst kind of bunkum.