Tag: Paul R. Pillar

Drone Warfare’s Costs and Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.…

Obama Tries His Hand at ‘Realism’

President Obama is what might be called a “closet realist” who often pounds his fists upon the table while shaking hands under the table. He has to pull off this trick because of America’s ugly partisan realities, says ex-CIA analyst…

Making Unnecessary Enemies in Yemen

The Saudi-Israeli tandem is trying to pull the U.S. and other militaries into the Yemeni civil war by arguing that the Houthi rebels are Iranian proxies. But the reality is much more nuanced and the American interest may go in…

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