Opinion: Why we must talk to the bad guys -- even ISIS

Story highlights

  • Revenge is not the best way to go about tackling terrorist groups, writes Jonathan Powell
  • History suggests you need a coolly thought out strategy, he says
  • Powell: Talking is not an alternative to fighting -- they have to go hand in hand
  • All conflicts are capable of resolution, he writes

Jonathan Powell was Chief of Staff for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and is now head of the charity Inter-Mediate. His book "Talking to Terrorists How to End Armed Conflicts" is published by Bodley Head. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

London (CNN)When people watch the cold-blooded beheading of a western journalist on TV they react emotionally. They want revenge. So do I. But I have come to understand that is not the best way to go about tackling terrorist groups. History suggests you need a coolly thought-out strategy if you want to "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS as U.S. President Barack Obama put it, rather than a knee-jerk reaction.