Foreign Policy

Bad Mind-Reading on Iran

Propagandists often speculate about the evil intentions of some rival state and then bait anyone who suggests that the other side is just looking out for its own interests or harboring its own fears. This propaganda technique has been honed into a fine art form regarding Iran, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

The Folly of ‘Self-Regulation’

The recent loss of human life in Bangladesh sweatshops and the 2008 Wall Street meltdown that devastated the world’s economy should demonstrate that relying on corporate executives to “self-regulate” is a deadly and dangerous way to protect the broader society, as Michael Winship explains.

New Risks from 9/11 War Act

Presidents have been stretching their commander-in-chief powers since Thomas Jefferson dispatched the Navy to make war on the Barbary pirates. But Congress risks a perpetual war of presidential choice if it carelessly rewrites the 9/11 force-authorization act, warns Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

Doubting Obama’s Resolve to Do Right

Exclusive: In his counterterrorism speech, President Obama ruminated about the moral and legal dilemma of balancing the safety of the American people against the use of targeted killings abroad. But Obama’s handwringing did not sit well with some critics including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Hezbollah’s Risky Syrian Gambit

The sectarian rifts, which were opened by George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, continue to tear apart the Middle East, now involving Syria and Lebanon. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, has plunged into Syria to fight Sunni-led rebels, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

The Halfway ‘Obama Doctrine’

Exclusive: President Obama’s counterterrorism speech failed to quiet his critics on the Left who want an immediate end to the “war on terror” and those on the Right who demand more Bush-Cheney policies. Obama charted a middle course of gradually reducing violence and asking for patience, reports Robert Parry.

Charting a New Course on Terrorism

President Obama offered a comprehensive review of U.S. counterterrorism policies since 9/11, while vowing to ratchet down the violence and acknowledging harm done to America’s principles and image. Still, many details of his plans remain fuzzy and follow-through far from certain, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama Distorts ‘Just War’ Principles

In assessing the consequences of the decade-plus “war on terror,” President Obama sought to place his continued — albeit more targeted — use of violence within the context of just-war principles, stressing self-defense and proportionality, a point that religious ethicist Daniel C. Maguire disputes.

Israel’s Hand in Guatemala’s Genocide

Exclusive: The Guatemalan genocide of the 1980s does not just implicate President Ronald Reagan and his senior aides but the Israeli government which secretly supplied helicopters, guns and computers that were used to hunt down and exterminate Ixil Indians and other perceived enemies of the state, reports Robert Parry.

Syrian Rebels Balk at Peace Talks

Russia and the Obama administration have made some moves toward seeking a peace settlement in Syria, even as Russia bolsters its support for Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime. But an obstacle has emerged as the deeply divided Syrian rebels balk at meeting with Assad’s representatives, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.