Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar


Spreading the Syrian Chaos

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Nearly two decades ago, U.S. neoconservatives put Syria on their “regime change” list and have maintained that goal to the present day, placing it ahead of even blocking the spread of Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorism. That chaos has now drawn in Turkey as it advances its own geopolitical agenda, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Disastrous Neocon Mindset

A Predator drone firing a missile.

The neocon mindset, which envisions U.S. military force remaking the Mideast at the point of a gun or the warhead of a drone, has confronted a string of disasters and faces a new challenge from President Obama’s successful diplomacy with Iran, but the mindset will likely survive, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Bolton’s Creative Attack on Iran-Nuke Deal

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.

The neocon foes of the Iranian nuclear accord are reaching for any argument imaginable but few have been as creative as John Bolton, a longtime enemy of the UN who fears the Iran deal might somehow erode the principle of Security Council vetoes, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Mideast Alliances Shift Again

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Like shifting desert sands, the volatile Middle East is going through a new, though subtle, realignment of adversaries and allies, with Turkey’s political tensions shaking up one area while Saudi Arabia makes moves of its own, as recounted by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Unreality of the Iran-Nuke Fight

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to 2014 convention of the powerful lobbying group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Israel is throwing the full weight of its U.S. lobby to crush the Iran nuclear agreement, but there are other factors adding momentum to the opposition – partisanship among Republicans and money from Israeli backers to propagandize the American people, explains ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Trump, McCain and ‘Chicken-hawk-ism’

Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The fury over Donald Trump’s slur against Sen. McCain’s time as a Vietnam War POW has obscured a larger point about “chicken-hawk-ism,” how U.S. political/media insiders hail the soldiers for “heroism” but send them into harm’s way with little appreciation of their sacrifice, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Risks of Rejecting Iran-Nuke Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has told the U.S. Congress to reject the Iranian nuclear deal and the Israeli propaganda machine is fully in gear to back up his demands, but the deal’s opponents ignore the risks of their potential success, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

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 ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

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 Paul R. Pillar.

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. national interest, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.