Tag: Paul R. Pillar

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Nagging Obama into Syria’s Civil War

After the Syrian government agreed to attend peace talks and the rebels refused unless they were given U.S. weapons President Obama succumbed and agreed to ship the weapons, an approach favored by the neocons and one likely to cause more…

Letting Iran in on Syrian Peace Talks

The U.S.-Russia-led peace talks on Syria face many obstacles, including rebels demanding weapons in exchange for showing up. But one self-imposed obstacle would be Official Washington blocking Iranian participation out of a misguided fear of political fallout, as ex-CIA analyst…

America Veers on Security v. Privacy

Americans tend to swing back and forth on the question of security v. privacy, depending on the latest big story. After the Boston Marathon bombings, there was anger over too little FBI prevention; after disclosures of massive data collection, there’s fury…

Misreading History into Wars

Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” often cites historical precedents, like Hitler at Munich or the Rwanda genocide, as simplistic justifications for new wars. President Obama’s two new national security appointees Susan Rice and Samantha Power seem prone to that mistake, notes ex-CIA…

To Russia With Love

It was surely odd to see right-wing Republican Dana Rohrabacher speaking positively about Russia, but perhaps he was influenced by actor Steven Seagal — or maybe animosity toward Islamists now tops old grudges toward Moscow, a question that ex-CIA analyst…

Hypocrisy Reigns in Terrorism Report

For decades, the U.S. State Department’s reports on human rights and terrorism have been exercises in hypocrisy. The reports have been used as clubs against “enemies” and as excuses for “allies.” The latest terrorism report fits that sorry and dishonest…

Bad Mind-Reading on Iran

Propagandists often speculate about the evil intentions of some rival state and then bait anyone who suggests that the other side is just looking out for its own interests or harboring its own fears. This propaganda technique has been honed into a fine…

Hezbollah’s Risky Syrian Gambit

The sectarian rifts, which were opened by George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, continue to tear apart the Middle East, now involving Syria and Lebanon. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, has plunged into Syria to fight Sunni-led rebels, as ex-CIA…

Charting a New Course on Terrorism

President Obama offered a comprehensive review of U.S. counterterrorism policies since 9/11, while vowing to ratchet down the violence and acknowledging harm done to America’s principles and image. Still, many details of his plans remain fuzzy and follow-through far from…

Syrian Rebels Balk at Peace Talks

Russia and the Obama administration have made some moves toward seeking a peace settlement in Syria, even as Russia bolsters its support for Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime. But an obstacle has emerged as the deeply divided Syrian rebels balk at…