Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

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America’s Overuse of the Sanctions Option

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice in the Oval Office on March 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

America’s use of economic sanctions to punish various foreign adversaries has grown so promiscuous that U.S. businesses often don’t know when they might be crossing some legal line, thus inflicting financial pain not only on other countries but on the U.S. economy, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Hyping the Iranian ‘Threat’

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sitting next to President Hassan Rouhani and addressing the cabinet.

Iran hasn’t invaded another country for centuries and is helping the U.S. push back against the Islamic State in Iraq, but Israeli leaders and American neocons want to enlist the West in the Saudi cause of promoting Sunni Islam over Shiite Islam, while America’s interests suffer, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Iran Deal’s Big Upside

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meeting a group of Iranian citizens. (Iranian government photo)

The tentative deal with Iran, ensuring that its nuclear program stays peaceful, opens some avenues toward reducing tensions in the Mideast and addressing long-neglected American interests, but the hard-line opponents will still do all they can to kill it, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Fearing an Iran-Nuke Deal Might Work

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Republicans, carrying water for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, have come up with a new scheme to kill a deal to constrain but not obliterate Iran’s nuclear program. The new goal seems to be to prevent the agreement from demonstrating that it can work, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

America’s Netanyahu Dilemma

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli voters rewarded Prime Minister Netanyahu for his scare-mongering and race-baiting with a solid electoral victory. Most significantly, Netanyahu prevailed by discarding the facade of a possible Palestinian state, forcing U.S. officials to face a grim reality, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

How the GOP Undermines America

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, while campaigning in 2014.

The world might find the goofy behavior of the “last remaining superpower” comical if it weren’t so scary. Though Democrats surely have their share of unfunny clowns, the Republicans took center stage in this circus of buffoonery with an open letter to Iran advertising U.S. unreliability, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Rearranging the Chairs at CIA

CIA Director John Brennan.

CIA Director Brennan wants to make his mark on the spy agency by shifting around the lines of authority to merge analysts and operatives into specialized “mission centers,” but the disadvantages may outweigh the advantages, according to ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Illogic of Netanyahu’s Speech

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.

Last week, the U.S. Congress, especially the Republican majority, treated Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as if he were the true commander in chief, a cringe-worthy moment for many Americans, but one that distracted from the illogic of what Netanyahu said, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Telling Scary Stories about Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

Israel has a large, sophisticated and undeclared nuclear arsenal, but Prime Minister Netanyahu told scary stories to a rapt U.S. Congress entranced by his warnings about the chance that Iran might consider building one bomb a decade from now, a double standard if there ever was one, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Netanyahu’s Troubling Subtext

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Though Iran’s nuclear program is the supposed focus of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s extraordinary speech to Congress, a troubling subtext is that the U.S. must have no meaningful dealings with Iran, a condition that undercuts American interests, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.