Tag: Paul R. Pillar

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The Iran-Nuclear Choice

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, announcing the signing of the Iran-nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015. (White House photo)

Many Republicans will oppose the Iran-nuclear deal to discredit President Obama and some Democrats will succumb to pressure from Israel, but the ultimate choice is whether politics and pressure will overrule the world’s interest in constraining Iran’s nuclear program, writes…

Fallout from Reagan’s Afghan War

Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President

In the 1980s, President Reagan funded and armed Islamic fundamentalists to defeat a Soviet-backed secular regime in Afghanistan. Now, one of those ex-U.S. clients is throwing his support behind the brutal Islamic State, a lesson about geopolitical expediency, writes ex-CIA analyst…

Time to Rethink US Mideast Policies

President Obama speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the White House on May 20, 2011 (White House photo by Pete Souza)

U.S. policy toward the Middle East carries an extraordinary burden of strategically outdated and politically overweight baggage, from oil deals with Saudi Arabia to emotional ties to Israel. What’s needed now is a thorough reexamination of what’s in the U.S.…

How Israel’s Gaza Blockade Backfires

An Israeli strike caused a huge explosion in a residential area in Gaza during the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009. (Photo credit: Al Jazeera)

Israel’s crushing blockade and periodic assaults against the 1.8 million people jammed into Gaza have led to the emergence of an Islamic State affiliate that is now challenging Hamas, an example of how extreme repression breeds ever greater extremism, writes…

Game of Chicken with Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry (third from right) with other diplomats who negotiated an interim agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, including Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, (fifth from the right) . (Photo credit: State Department)

In lock-step with Israeli hardliners, U.S. neocons continue their campaign to block a nuclear deal with Iran even if the tight restrictions would serve broad American interests and avert another Mideast war. That has left Secretary of State Kerry in…

Selective Outrage on ‘Terrorism’

Rep. Peter King, R-New York

America’s view of “terrorism” is distorted by politics and bias, with intense hostility toward the Islamic variety but with much more tolerance of other forms, such as Cuban “anti-communist” violence and right-wing extremist murders, as underscored by a new study examined…

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…

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…

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…

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.…