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.
Official Washington is in full outrage mode over a New York Times opinion article by Russian President Vladimir Putin who dared question the idea that the U.S. has a special – indeed “exceptional” – right to intervene militarily anywhere it wishes around the world, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Some of our special stories in August focused on the worsening crisis in Syria, the injustice of the Manning case, the history of U.S. war crimes using nukes and chemical weapons, and the Right’s disdain for reality.
Israel’s preferences – for Egypt’s military regime and against Syria’s authoritarian one – continue to shape U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In Egypt, President Obama has accepted a coup that ousted an elected government, while in Syria, he threatens war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.
President Obama’s limited war resolution against Syria cleared its initial congressional hurdle on a 10-7 vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but its overall chances got a bigger boost from an endorsement by the powerful Israel Lobby, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
By seeking congressional approval before bombing Syria, President Obama may have recognized a political reality – the danger from pressing ahead unilaterally on a risky mission – but the move also offers a valuable breather in the hasty rush to war, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
The Obama administration’s emotional reaction to the alleged chemical attack in Syria may be understandable given the human toll, but the high-level clamor for action put pressure on intelligence analysts assessing the evidence. It also could have distorted their judgments, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.