Tough-guy posturing in Washington continues to push the United States toward another collision course in the Middle East, as two politically motivated actions ratcheted up tensions with Iran. Ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar sees troubling parallels with the march of folly that led to war in Iraq.
Mitt Romney’s casual dismissal of Israeli-Palestinian peace as simply something to “kick … down the field” was perhaps meant to sound tough, even coolly cynical, but actually revealed a stunning naiveté and ignorance, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The neocons – despite the disastrous Iraq War and other harm they have caused – remain influential in Official Washington, given time on talk shows and space on op-ed pages to expound on their latest dreams of American intervention in the Middle East. But ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar asks, why are they still listened…
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that President Obama set a precise “red line” regarding Iran’s nuclear program, meaning a commitment to go to war even if Iran is not actually building a nuclear weapon. Ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar sees a possible turning point in the U.S.-Israeli relationship.
Anti-Americanism remains strong in the Muslim world, exacerbated by the kind of crude bigotry in a video that stoked the latest violence against U.S. diplomatic outposts and the killing of the American ambassador in Libya. Cool heads are needed to manage this problematic relationship, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Mitt Romney has articulated few substantive differences between himself and President Obama on foreign policy, but a Romney victory could dramatically change the U.S. approach to the world because he, like George W. Bush, is surrounding himself with neocon advisers, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
American politicians like to show how tough they are by citing some disagreeable behavior by a disdained government and sponsoring sanctions legislation to punish that country. However, politics also make such laws hard to repeal even as circumstances change, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
When the Democratic platform was initially silent on Jerusalem being Israel’s capital, Mitt Romney’s campaign pounced, questioning President Obama’s commitment to Israel and causing him to reinsert Jerusalem-as-capital language. But is this any way to deal with a complex foreign policy issue, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Over the years, the U.S. “terrorism list” has become less an objective assessment of groups that use violence against civilians than an ideological battlefield littered with blatant hypocrisies and outdated hatreds. The list has even complicated strategies for reducing political violence, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Led by Egypt, key Muslim nations – also including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran – are exploring ways to reduce the political violence in Syria, an initiative that upsets some in Washington because it represents an independent regional approach, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.