Foreign Policy

Hoping Bombs Will Solve Iraq/Syria Mess

The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea launches a Tomahawk cruise missile as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Sept. 23, 2014.  (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Garst)

Contradictions beset the U.S. war over Iraq and Syria. The principal target ISIS wouldn’t even exist but for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria have benefited from defections of U.S.-backed “moderates.” But now warplanes and missiles are supposed to fix things, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama’s Novel Lawyering to Bomb Syria

President Barack Obama talks with Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, following a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: The U.S. government likes international law when it serves Washington’s purposes, but not when it constrains U.S. desires to use military force. Then, the rules are bent, ignored or subjected to novel lawyering, as President Obama is doing with airstrikes into Syria, reports Robert Parry.

Obama’s Risks of Escalation

President Barack Obama announces U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State and other targets in Syria in comments at the White House on Sept. 23, 2014. (Screenshot from White House.gov)

As President Obama launched the first waves of U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State and other targets in Syria, the risks of further military escalation or other expected developments abound, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

High Cost of Bad Journalism on Ukraine

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

Exclusive: By driving a wedge between President Obama and President Putin over Ukraine, America’s neocons and the mainstream media can hope for more “shock and awe” in the Mideast, but the U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill, including $1 trillion more on nuclear weapons, writes Robert Parry.

How Money Silences Criticism of Israel

A portion of the separation wall built by the Israeli government jutting into the town of Bethlehem to enclose the tomb of Rachel within the Israeli zone.  Many portions of the wall contain graffiti and artwork by the Palestinians and their visitors. (Photo credit: Ted Lieverman)

Israel’s never-ending persecution of Palestinians is opening a chasm between the world’s public, which is growing disgusted by Israeli behavior, and Western elites who shy from criticism because of career fears and financial dependence, observes Lawrence Davidson.

Neocons Grow Frantic over Iran Progress

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

With an agreement on constraining Iran’s nuclear program within reach, Official Washington’s neocons are getting apoplectic about the need to rev up new animosities toward Iran, an approach not helpful to real U.S. security needs, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Blocking a ‘Realist’ Strategy on the Mideast

President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Official Washington’s influential neocons appear back in the driver’s seat steering U.S. policy in the Middle East toward a wider conflict in Syria and away from a “realist” alternative that sought a Putin-Obama collaboration to resolve the region’s crises more peacefully, reports Robert Parry.

How Obama’s New War Could Backfire

President Barack Obama receives a briefing from Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command, and his top commanders at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Sept. 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The political imperative to “do something” against the brutal Islamic State has brought President Obama and congressional majorities together on a plan for a limited U.S. military response, but this strategy could actually make matters worse, says the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

Cameras to Detect ‘Abnormal’ Behavior

Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

In the chimerical pursuit of perfect security, Western countries are turning to advanced technology to detect and stop terrorist attacks. But these expensive schemes often fail to deliver greater safety while further eroding personal freedom, as Sander Venema observed in the Netherlands.

Braveheart, Edward I, and Bush

Scottish street musicians including one in costume as William Wallace as portrayed in "Braveheart" by Mel Gibson. (Photo credit: Don North)

From the Archive: As Scots vote on independence from Great Britain, part of the motivation for those voting “aye” is the brutal history of English repression of Scottish freedom, dating back centuries but fresh in the minds of many Scots, a lesson about unintended consequences of violence that should be remembered by today’s politicians, as…