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.
Some of our special stories in January focused on the need for a truthful history, the failure of the news media to do the right thing, the neocons’ ugly battle to block Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be Defense Secretary, and the need to pose some tough questions to CIA nominee John Brennan.
A decade ago, President George W. Bush and his neocon aides were convinced that hi-tech American weapons in a “uni-polar world” meant the U.S. could remake the Middle East through violence. It was a moment of hubris that ignored the lessons of history and the Cold War, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The two top producers of pistachios are the United States and Iran, which have squared off over grievances for more than three decades. Now, there’s news that Israel has a preference for the Iranian variety and Prime Minister Netanyahu has a special budget item for pistachio ice cream, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
It sounds like a script from a science-fiction movie, a giant asteroid on a collision course with earth, threatening all life on the planet. But the existence of this existential threat is not entirely fiction and last week’s near misses suggest governments should pay more attention, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
As neocons mount a last-ditch offensive to stop Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary – partly because he isn’t hawkish enough on Iran – the war drums are beating again across Official Washington, drowning out any thoughtful cost-benefit analysis, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
The central contradiction in the cozy U.S. relationship with Israel is that the American system rejects religious and ethnic preferences and Israel embraces them. This intolerance is growing as ultra-Orthodox Jews direct discrimination against women, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.