Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

American Hawks Who Never Learn

Columnist Charles Krauthammer

The mainstream U.S. news media has taken great umbrage over President Obama’s defense of the more peaceful parts of his foreign policy, when he suggested lessons were not learned by the many pundits and pols who supported the disastrous Iraq War, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Egypt’s Spectacle of Repression

Egyptian General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi as shown on official Egyptian TV.

Egypt’s U.S.-backed coup regime has veered further toward political repression of the democratically elected Morsi government, including mass death sentences for its followers. The spectacle has spurred some U.S. opposition to continued military aid, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Hearing US ‘Allies’ Whine

President Barack Obama talks with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko during a state call at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, April 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Official Washington is abuzz with punditry about President Obama showing weakness around the world, with the old-reliable antidote being more Pentagon spending and more foreign military adventures. But this “debate” misses how real U.S. interests are served, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Hamas and the Tyranny of Labels

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu

Israel is using the latest rapprochement between the PLO and Hamas as the newest excuse to reject peace talks. The charge is that Hamas is “terrorist” although the same label has been applied to the PLO and indeed to some of Israel’s own leaders, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Foreign Entangling Sanctions

President Thomas Jefferson in a portrait by Rembrandt Peale.

The U.S. government prefers economic sanctions as the opening move in any international chess match with adversaries, but sanctions on Iran – and threatened ones against Russia – could disrupt energy supplies and hurt the West as much as the targets, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes.

Why the US Obsession over Ukraine?

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. government acts like it has a vital interest in separating Ukraine from Russia, even if that sparks a civil war among Ukrainians and disrupts Europe’s economic recovery. A slightly varied history might have given a different perspective, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Rigging the Game Against Palestinians

Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post.

Official Washington’s neocons are busy spinning the latest U.S. failure to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian peace as an excuse to extend the Israeli occupation indefinitely by insisting that the Palestinians first pass some ever-receding test of quality self-governance, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Making Iran’s UN Envoy a Wedge Issue

Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Hamid Aboutalebi.

America’s neocons and their allies want an escalating confrontation with Iran, not a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue. So they seek out hot buttons to anger Iran and make President Obama’s job harder, such as blocking Iran’s choice of UN ambassador, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Spies, Diplomacy and Double Standards

Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in the photo from his U.S. Naval Intelligence ID.

While Israel demands that the U.S. release spy Jonathan Pollard, it continues to persecute Mordechai Vanunu for exposing the existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, raising questions about secrecy, double standards and diplomacy, an issue addressed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Anti-Iran Hardliners Seek New Excuse

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey.

U.S. hardliners seeking to disrupt negotiations that would constrain – but not eliminate – Iran’s nuclear program are citing Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. oil sanctions as their latest excuse. But Iran has no obligation to submit to U.S. sanctions, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.