Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger operated in an amoral world where they traded lives and principles for power. But their cold “realism” enabled them to function more effectively in foreign policy than many of their successors who let passions and politics color their thinking, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
As a catastrophic U.S. debt default looms, Republicans keep demanding they “get something” in exchange for reopening the government and removing a gun from the head of the economy. The new talking point is that “Democrats won’t negotiate!” But ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar sees an anarchic method behind the madness.
This past weekend, when U.S. commandos captured suspected al-Qaeda leader Anas al-Libi living openly in Tripoli, it drove home the point that post-Gaddafi Libya has become home to many Islamic extremists, a reality that tarnishes what Official Washington likes to view as a great “victory,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
The Republican-induced shutdown of the federal government underscores the Right’s populist contempt for the nation’s democratic institutions. But the fiasco also has undercut America’s standing in the world and thus undermines U.S. security and global leadership, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Israel, Saudi Arabia and other enemies of Iran hope to poison improved U.S.-Iranian relations by blocking sanctions relief for Iran, even at the cost of losing new restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, an emerging dilemma assessed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
With new Iranian leadership eager for détente, a negotiated settlement over its nuclear program is within reach. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears determined to torpedo an agreement and press ahead toward war, a prospect that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar addresses.
The neocons still dominate Official Washington’s policy debates so it shouldn’t be a surprise that President Obama’s move toward diplomacy over intervention in Syria would draw criticism and denunciation. But sometimes the best course is the simply the one that’s not the worst, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Official Washington’s still-influential neocons are still hoping they can sabotage progress toward a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement – and thus keep open the option of war – but the reasonable tone of Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani is making the neocons’ job trickier, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Iran continues to signal a readiness to negotiate seriously over its nuclear program – in exchange for relief on sanctions – but Israeli leaders and American neocons still are pushing the Obama administration toward a heightened confrontation and war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.
Across Official Washington – from liberal to neocon, from pol to pundit – the conventional wisdom on Syria’s crisis is that threats of military force work. But that simplistic notion misses the disasters that can follow if the threat is ignored or how bullying might strengthen hardliners, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar says.