Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

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America’s ‘Exceptional’ Negotiations

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry takes a walk in a park between meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, on Nov. 8, 2013, that focused on limits on Iran's nuclear capabilities. (State Department photo)

America has a strange idea about international negotiations: It makes demands and the other side must capitulate or face crushing penalties if not violent “regime change.” This strange attitude is threatening the Iran-nuclear talks and endangering real U.S. national interests, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Pope’s Global Warming Warning

Pope Francis. (Photo from Casa Rosada)

Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum are among the Catholic Republicans who have cited Church teachings on abortion as guiding their political positions, but now are objecting to Pope Francis issuing an encyclical on the dangers of global warming, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Stumbling into a New Cold War

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

U.S. expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders and last year’s U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine have drawn reactions from Moscow and now counter-reactions from Washington, including a plan to preposition U.S. military hardware in the Baltic States. But is that the best option, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

A Rare Defeat for the Israel Lobby

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In a rare rebuke to the powerful Israel Lobby, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a congressional encroachment on presidential powers regarding the official status of Jerusalem. Even some right-wing justices turned on each other, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Israel and the Water Card

A section of the barrier -- erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians -- with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy's famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, "Ich bin ein Berliner." (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

The New York Times hailed Israel’s ingenuity in addressing its water needs, but played down how Israel exploits its military domination to divert water away from Palestinians and to Israelis, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Is War on ISIS America’s Fight?

President Barack Obama in his weekly address on Sept. 13, 2014, vowing to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. (White House Photo)

The Sunni resistance to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to what is now ISIS or the Islamic State, and many U.S. hawks now want President Obama to “surge” troops back into Iraq to fight this brutal force. But what is the right calibration for U.S. involvement, asks ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Israel’s Looming War on Lebanon

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with his generals to discuss the offensive in Gaza in 2014. (Israeli government photo)

As Israel joins Saudi Arabia and other Sunni sheikdoms in their sectarian war against the Shiites, Israel’s  new front may well be in Lebanon, with Israel attacking Hezbollah in a move that could also kill the Iran nuclear deal, as Trita Parsi and Paul Pillar explain.

Blocking a Nuclear-Free Mideast

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

With a large undeclared arsenal of nukes and the missiles to deliver them, Israel ranks as the world’s top rogue nuclear state, even as it threatens to bomb Iran over the theoretical possibility of building a single nuclear weapon, hypocrisy backed up by the U.S., as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Drone Warfare’s Costs and Benefits

A Predator drone firing a missile.

Lethal drones are President Obama’s weapon of choice in striking at suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in remote areas, but – as with any weapon of war – there must be a cost-benefit analysis, including whether drone strikes create more enemies than they kill, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

False Comparison of N. Korea to Iran

Near the ceasefire line between North and South Korea, President Barack Obama uses binoculars to view the DMZ from Camp Bonifas, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Opponents of a nuclear-limitation deal with Iran often cite the failed effort to constrain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. But the two cases are dramatically different – from the levels of inspection involved to the nature of the political systems – as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.