Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

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Obama Finds Common Ground in India

President Obama greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India as he and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, India, Jan. 25, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

For decades, U.S. policymakers have berated foreign leaders to get in line behind U.S. desires – from Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to President George W. Bush – but sometimes a lighter touch proves more effective as President Obama learned in India, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Neocons Dig in to Bomb-Bomb Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own "red line" on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

America’s neocons remain determined to sink nuclear talks with Iran, even seeking help from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to reopen the path to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran and reassert a direct U.S. combat role in the Mideast. But that doesn’t serve U.S. interests, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Death of King Abdullah

King Abdullah, the ailing monarch of Saudi Arabia whose country is playing a power game with its oil.

The death of Saudi King Abdullah adds a new layer of uncertainty to the already chaotic Middle East, including whether his successor will continue pursuing a détente with Israel and how the oil-rich kingdom will approach the dangerous issue of Sunni extremism, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Anti-Empirical Empire

New York Times graphic based on data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In many ways, America has become the anti-empirical empire, a superpower where many political leaders divorce themselves from facts. Few examples are more glaring or dangerous than the continued denial of global warming despite the latest evidence of impending catastrophe, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Cameron Calls Out Iran-Talk Saboteurs

President Barack Obama greets Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom prior to a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Jan. 16, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As U.S. neocons and other hardliners keep trying to sabotage Iranian nuclear talks, British Prime Minister Cameron is the latest world leader to call them out on their sophistry about how threatening additional pain on Iran would help negotiations, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

The Problems with Being Charlie

Islamic terrorists prepare to execute a wounded policeman after their attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, 2015.

It’s one thing to decry all terrorism and defend the principle of free expression; it’s another to show disproportionate concern for some victims over others and to embrace offensive or irresponsible media content, troubling issues from the Charlie Hebdo case, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

New Trick for Sinking Iran-Nuke Talks

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

Neocons and other U.S. hardliners, who want to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran, never stop scheming up ways to torpedo a deal that would constrain but not eliminate Iran’s nuclear program, with the latest idea a threat to impose new sanctions if Iran doesn’t capitulate, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Challenge of Ending Wars

President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” – the one-upping macho rhetoric about how to respond to foreign crises – makes it hard for leaders to avoid wars and perhaps even harder to end wars, a dilemma addressed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Upside-Down Policy on Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Despite the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects, the Obama administration continues the fiction that any Palestinian appeal to the UN somehow threatens those non-existent talks, while Republicans vow to sync U.S. policies even more in line with Israeli demands, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Oil-Crash Diplomatic Mirage

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Rome, Italy, on Dec. 14, 2014. (State Department photo)

Official Washington’s latest “group think” is that the drop in oil prices will bring Russia and Iran to their knees ready to do whatever the U.S. demands. But this analysis is a miscalculation that could cause President Obama to miss diplomatic opportunities to resolve disputes, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.