Tag: Paul R. Pillar

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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…

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…

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…

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…

The Value of Effective Government

National Transportation Safety Board officials examine site of Amtrak derailment, which occurred on May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (NTSB photo)

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution envisioned an activist federal government that would help build the new country, including transportation infrastructure, but that history has been lost amid Tea Party revisionism that treats all constructive government actions as bad, a…

US Politics Gives Saudis an Edge

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, in the Oval Office, Sept. 13, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

If President Obama were speaking solely for U.S. national interests, he would offer a stern rebuke, not gentle reassurance, to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States during a Camp David summit, but domestic politics and Israeli pressure will constrain any…

Two Approaches toward Nationalism

Wanted Poster of the Palestine Police Force offering rewards for the capture of Stern Gang terrorists: 1. Jaacov Levstein (Eliav), 2. Yitzhak Yezernitzky (Shamir), 3. Natan Friedman-Yelin

Despite a difficult history, Scotland and England have approached their modern differences within the democratic process with Scottish nationalists sweeping recent parliamentary elections but Israel has chosen cruel repression toward the Palestinians leading to a very different result, says ex-CIA…

Entangled in Sunni-Shiite Wars

President Obama and King Salman Arabia stand at attention during the U.S. national anthem as the First Lady stands in the background with other officials on Jan. 27, 2015, at the start of Obama’s State Visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza). (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Early U.S. presidents warned against “entangling” foreign alliances, but they never suspected America might be drawn into squabbles between Sunnis and Shiites dating back to the Seventh Century succession of Prophet Muhammad. But that now seems to be the case, as ex-CIA…

Mixed Signals on the Middle East

The U.S. Capitol. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol)

On one level the Congressional failure to authorize war on the Islamic State while seeking to sabotage the peaceful nuclear accord with Iran would seem to fit neatly with the interests of the Saudi-Israeli alliance as it presses for “regime change” in…

Inventing a Record of Iranian Aggression

Iranian women attending a speech by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

Following the lead of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Official Washington’s neocons are hyping Iran’s record as an aggressor state, with some examples harkening back to the Sixteenth Century and other more recent cases simply not true, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R.…