It may appear that Japanese voters have opted for a “back-to-the-future” election, reinstalling Shinzo Abe and his once-dominant Liberal Democratic Party to power. But the move reflects a desire to move forward out of Japan’s economic rut, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Behind the scenes, Iran says it’s willing to offer more assurances that it really isn’t building a nuclear bomb, but Israel and many of its U.S. congressional allies keep pushing for a nasty showdown. The dynamic is now impeding President Obama’s ability to defuse the crisis, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Susan Rice’s possible promotion from U.S. Ambassador to the UN to Secretary of State continues to come under fire, now over her apparent conflicts of interest with African clients from her days as a private consultant, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Between Israel’s expansion of West Bank settlements and deepening Palestinian resentments, chances for a two-state solution continue to shrink. The fiery words of Hamas leader Khaled Meshal have only made prospects worse, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The United States has blocked a conference aimed at banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, thus shielding Israel from criticism for keeping a rogue nuclear arsenal even as it threatens to attack Iran for the mere “capacity” to build a bomb. This latest move is counterproductive, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Besides rejecting many aspects of science, the American Right despises the idea of international agreements as well, considering them infringements on U.S. “sovereignty.” That attitude among GOP senators turned back a global agreement on protecting the disabled, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Having learned some lessons about Republican intransigence, President Obama is taking his budget case to the American people, but he still avoids a public confrontation with another first-term obstacle, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Egyptian President Morsi is pressing for a quick vote on a new constitution which has drawn criticism from both secularists and Islamists. But the imperfect plan has the benefit of establishing some governing rules for the tumultuous country and can be changed later, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The ginned-up fury over what Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said about the Benghazi attack on TV shows obscures a bigger question, whether the U.S.-backed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi was smart policy. Libya remains a country in turmoil amid growing doubts about U.S. trustworthiness, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
The United States and Israel continue to oppose the UN granting the Palestinians recognition as a “non-member state.” But the objections seem increasingly farfetched, as even Hamas has shown a more moderate side in endorsing this modest proposal, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.