Monday’s presidential debate offered a startling case of President Obama defending his first-term foreign policy and challenger Mitt Romney abandoning many of his harsh criticisms of the incumbent. But ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar suggests some common-sense ways for Americans to assess global choices.
The pundits say America’s economic angst will trump worries about war in the Nov. 6 election. However, as Americans learned a decade ago, careless foreign policies can have disastrous consequences, a lesson that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar also traces back one and two centuries.
For years, Mitt Romney has advocated tax breaks tilted toward the rich in a classic “supply-side” strategy, but is now trying to obscure that position. His shift comes as even conservative economists say the concentration of wealth at the top is hurting economic progress, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Much of Official Washington is clamoring for President Obama to arm the Syrian rebels, but the civil war in Syria is reminiscent of the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan in which the Reagan administration ended up helping hard-line Islamists who then turned against the U.S., notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The Nobel committee’s award of the Peace Prize to the European Union may be head-scratching to some, given the continent’s angry economic divisions and NATO’s role in recent wars. But the point was to commend Europe for having avoided a repeat of the two world wars, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Official Washington likes to pretend that the neocon-driven Iraq War “surge” secured a “victory,” rather than face the evidence of a multi-faceted failure. But the news of an Iraqi arms deal with Moscow underscores the scope of the U.S. policy disaster, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The Obama administration is hesitant to close a deal with Iran in the last weeks of Campaign 2012, but is eyeing a likely agreement if President Obama is reelected. Iran appears ready to accept a phase-down of its nuclear project for sanctions relief, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Word from Tehran and Washington is that the nuclear dispute might be resolved soon after the U.S. elections, assuming President Obama wins. But some American neocons are hoping that whatever the result on Nov. 6, they can hijack the sanctions policy for “regime change,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The Romney campaign thinks it has an opening with the Obama administration’s shifting explanations about the lethal attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. But the reality is that diplomatic service is never risk free and facts about a complex event are never immediately clear, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s gimmick of hoisting a crude drawing of a bomb to illustrate the alleged Iranian nuclear threat has prompted derision and has distracted from his claims about existential threats. But perhaps he was more interested in another kind of distraction, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.