Tag: Paul R. Pillar


The Afghan Lesson in Syria

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pfc. Sean Serritelli provides security outside Combat Outpost Charkh on Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Campo)

Russian President Putin’s decision to escalate military support for the Syrian government brings to mind earlier interventions in Afghanistan that went badly but that cautionary history and the changed Syrian dynamic also raise the prospects for negotiations, says ex-CIA analyst…

Obama Closes Opening to Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN Photo)

Despite prevailing on the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama isn’t following up that victory with a more realistic policy to incorporate Iran into resolving Mideast conflicts. Instead, Obama feels he must placate U.S. hardliners with more tough talk, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R.…

Giving Saudis a Pass on Yemen War

King Salman greets the President and First Lady during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

By supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, the U.S. is again finding itself on the same side with Al Qaeda in a Mideast conflict, a troubling pattern driven by a compulsion to excuse actions by U.S. “allies” no matter how…

How the World Views US ‘Clown Show’

Ben Carson, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who opposed a Muslim being elected president.

Some Americans may be amused by the “clown show” that is modern U.S. politics, particularly the Republican presidential race. But the crude insults and gross bigotry are seen around the world, reducing the appeal of democracy and turning more people against…

Blunting the Pope’s Environmentalism

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has challenged market economics to address the human cost of profit-making, especially global warming’s threat to the future of the planet. But opponents of government regulation are set to spin whatever criticism the Pope delivers during his U.S. trip,…

Russian Role Could Help in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony  on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

Despite the alarms in Official Washington about Russia’s increased military role in Syria, this expanded commitment breathes new hope into a possible political settlement of the conflict and could help reverse Islamic State gains, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

In Bed with the Reactionary Saudis

King Salman the President and First Lady to a reception room at Erga Palace during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The U.S.-Saudi alliance is no longer just an anachronism. It has become a dangerous anachronism with the Saudis implicating the United States in their brutal sectarian conflicts, such as the wars in Yemen and Syria, and in their reactionary human…

Phase Two of Iran-Deal Sabotage

Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference on Aug. 6, 2015. (State Department photo)

Neocons and Republican opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement have so worked themselves into a frenzy that their efforts to sabotage the deal are likely to continue even if it survives Congress as new schemes are devised, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Missed Lesson on Terrorism

French President Francois Hollande, center, with British businessman Chris Norman, left, U.S. student Anthony Sadler, U.S. Airman First Class Spencer Stone and U.S. National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris honoring the men who helped thwart a terror attack on a Paris-bound train last week. (Pool photo)

Whenever there’s a terrorist attack even a botched one like last week on a Paris-bound train the debate turns to tightened security and retaliation. But a key part of a realistic campaign to reduce terrorism is to address underlying causes that…

Propaganda and the Iran-Nuke Deal

An Iranian man holding a photo of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

For years, the anti-Iranian propaganda in the U.S. media has been unrelenting, at times aided by the idiocy of certain Iranian officials. That one-sided presentation and the ignorance that it has engendered are now adding to the public confusion about the…