President Obama seems determined to maintain a smile and bonhomie during his three-day trip to Israel, but the optics obscure deeper problems in the U.S.-Israeli relationship as Obama remains under pressure to bend U.S. policies in ways favored by Prime Minister Netanyahu, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
For years, the NRA and the American Right have played games with some imprecise wording in the Second Amendment, which was always about a state’s right to have a well-regulated militia, but now those games are distorting U.S. foreign policy, too, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Neocons who played key roles in the Iraq War – like Douglas Feith and Stephen Hadley – are using the tenth anniversary to continue lying about why the invasion was ordered in the first place. Thus, they are still avoiding an examination of how the U.S. lurched into the disaster, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Like the Iraq War, the long U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is grinding toward an American loss, with little left behind in either country beyond resentment toward military excesses. Afghan anger is the best interpretation of President Karzai’s bizarre remarks, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.
Nearing the Iraq War’s tenth anniversary, an overriding truth is that few of the key participants – in government, media or think tanks – have faced accountability commensurate with the crime. Indeed, many of these Mideast “experts” are still go-to people for advice, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
When U.S. policymakers throw their weight around internationally, they may think their actions are justified – and perhaps in a narrow sense some are – but the U.S. also building up a reservoir of resentment and suspicion that hurts American interests in the long term, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Establishment foreign policy writers Vali Nasr and David Ignatius have criticized President Obama for not listening more to supposed experts on world affairs — and concentrating decision-making in the White House – but some of those experts have suffered from their own groupthink, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Modest but real progress appears to have been made at the latest round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program, but that didn’t stop congressional war hawks in thrall to the Israel Lobby from seeking more sanctions and proposing a green light for an Israeli attack on Iran, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Israeli repression of the Palestinians and Palestinian resistance toward the Israelis have laid the groundwork for another possible outbreak of disorder, a new intifada, which would present challenges to both sides and to the Obama administration, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
In President Obama’s first term, he built a national security “team of rivals” and got mouse-trapped into a dubious Afghan War escalation. For his second term, he’s opted for people who share his views on more restrained military power and faces criticism for “group think,” says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.