Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

The Hypocrisy of Israel’s Nukes

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own "red line" on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

For decades, the U.S. and Israel have played a game of not admitting what everyone knows – that Israel possesses a secret nuclear arsenal. But this policy of dissembling has made the two countries look hypocritical when they press Iran on its nuclear program, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Libya’s ‘Regime Change’ Chaos

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

America’s war hawks, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were thrilled by the Libyan “regime change” engineered through a U.S.- European bombing campaign in 2011. But now with Libya torn by civil war and Arab powers intervening, the “victory” has a bitter aftertaste, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Washington’s Latest War Fever

obama-cameron

War fever is running high again in Official Washington with pols and pundits demanding that President Obama order a major military intervention in Iraq and Syria to stop the violent jihadists of ISIS, a group that got its start with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as ex-CIA analyst Paul Pillar recalls.

Wisdom in Obama’s ‘Don’t Do Stupid Stuff’

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honor the four victims of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Sept. 14, 2012. [State Department photo)

Hillary Clinton and other war hawks are scolding President Obama for not asserting U.S. power more aggressively around the world to deal with a rash of crises, but there is wisdom in Obama’s saying, “Don’t do stupid stuff,” observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama’s Foreign Policy Scrambles

President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As President Obama faces simultaneous foreign policy crises in multiple hotspots, his reaction often appears ad hoc, rushing to one flare-up after another. But he is not the first president to face multi-front brush fires, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Real Peace-Making Needed for Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Aug. 6, 2014,
announced the success of Operation Protective Edge, which killed some2,000 Gazans. Netanyahu said, "The goal of Operation Protective Edge was and remains to protect Israeli civilians." (Israeli government photo)

Some Israeli leaders joke about their periodic slaughter of Gazans as “mowing the grass,” a chore that needs regular repeating. Though a ceasefire has stopped the killing for now, real peace-making is needed to stop Israel from bringing out the lawn mower again, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Justifying Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with his generals to discuss the offensive in Gaza. (Israeli government photo)

Mainstream U.S. politicians and press are engaged in their usual tolerance of Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, hitting the usual talking points by condemning Hamas as “terrorist” and accepting the mass killings of civilians and children with a shrug, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar reflects.

Postponing Costs for Bad Decisions

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Politicians from Washington to Beijing to Tel Aviv like to put off the negative consequences of their decisions as long as possible, but that often adds to the eventual costs to their people and the world, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Netanyahu’s Bloody Calculations

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security meeting with senior Israeli Defense Forces commanders near Gaza on July 21, 2014. (Israel government photo)

As the Israeli killing of Palestinians spreads from Gaza to the West Bank, Prime Minister Netanyahu weighs his pursuit of military objectives against growing world outrage. But his trump card remains the fear of U.S. politicians to voice any criticism of Israel, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Obama and Fast-Moving Global Crises

President Barack Obama and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. (This White House photo by Pete Souza was taken when McDonough was deputy national security adviser.)

The three big international crises – Ukraine/Russia, Israel/Gaza and Iran/nuclear – mark a choice for President Obama, stick with Israel and the old alignments or shift toward more cooperation with Russia and Iran. But the pieces on this global chessboard are fast moving, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.