Jason Rezaian reviews 'We Want To Negotiate' for The Washington Post
"I never took it personally when the Islamic Republic of Iran abducted me in 2014 and used me as a hostage for 544 days. True, the impact on my loved ones — and my own lasting scars — is deeply personal. But the officials in Tehran who raided my home and imprisoned my wife and me were not so much interested in us. They grabbed me because I was a Washington Post reporter and an American citizen, and because of that I represented something of value to them. I understood that very early in my ordeal.
I was less sure about this: What, if anything, would the U.S. government do to bring me home?
This is the awful question that hostages and their families ask themselves. And as Joel Simon expertly explains in his new book, We Want to Negotiate: The Secret World of Kidnapping, Hostages and Ransom, there is no consensus about how to respond to an ancient practice that has made a terrible resurgence in the post-9/11 era."
"No government has found a way to prevent hostage-taking, and the practice is getting more widespread. But this is one area where the Trump administration has had some success. Andrew Brunson, a pastor detained in Turkey, was released in October 2018 after the United States imposed sanctions and tariffs. Joshua Holt, a Mormon missionary, was freed in May 2018 after nearly two years in a Venezuelan prison following separate meetings by two U.S. senators with President Nicolás Maduro.
But a question still nags: Those releases came at what cost? For no hostage is ever freed for nothing."