Propaganda often involves taking the words of an adversary out of context and making them seem far worse or more dangerous than they are. When the news media joins in the distortion, the public can easily be stampeded into confrontation or war, a dilemma that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar addresses.
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The rigidity of Official Washington – more than intransigence from Iran – is threatening negotiations beginning in Istanbul this weekend. President Obama’s flexibility to ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iranian safeguards against building a nuclear weapon is limited by political pressures, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
With negotiations set to begin with Iran over its nuclear program, the Obama administration is signaling a hard line toward closing Iran’s newest – and best protected – site built into a mountain. But such a demand could torpedo a peaceful settlement to the dispute, warns ex-CIA analyst Paul Pillar.
Iran says it doesn’t want a nuclear bomb and Western intelligence agencies say it isn’t building one, but Israeli leaders and their U.S. supporters say a preemptive strike may still be necessary. A key argument is the threat of a regional arms race, a claim that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar finds dubious.
Israeli hardliners and American neocons say U.S. and Israeli interests are one and the same, meaning that if Israel bombs Iran, the United States should join in. But other observers say Washington must create some distance from Israel’s messianic Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The new Egypt – guided by relatively moderate Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood – is seeking a unity among Palestinian factions as a way to advance peace talks with Israel. The next question will be whether Israel and the United States welcome or spurn this initiative, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
An aide’s remark comparing the consistency of Mitt Romney’s positions to lines on an Etch a Sketch toy suggests his presidency would follow a course designed to win him a second term, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar. In that, Romney’s neocon foreign policy advisers may see hope for a muscular “new American century.”
The “three amigos” – John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham – are the Senate’s top war hawks, widely admired by the Washington Post’s editors and other neocon voices. But the senators also were cheerleaders for the Iraq disaster and other dubious exploits, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar recalls.
Even as Israeli leaders focus the world on a possible war with Iran, the neocons are prepping public opinion for another bloody assault on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, what one article likened to “mowing the grass.” Ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar sees the need for serious peace talks.