Tag: Paul R. Pillar

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Iran’s Rouhani Confounds Neocons

Iran's President-elect Hassan Rouhani during a television appearance.

Official Washington’s still-influential neocons are still hoping they can sabotage progress toward a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement and thus keep open the option of war but the reasonable tone of Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani is making the neocons’ job trickier, as…

US-Iran Talks at a Crossroads

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sitting next to President Hassan Rouhani and addressing the cabinet.

Iran continues to signal a readiness to negotiate seriously over its nuclear program in exchange for relief on sanctions but Israeli leaders and American neocons still are pushing the Obama administration toward a heightened confrontation and war, as ex-CIA analyst…

Risks from Big-Power Bullying

Secretary of State John Kerry.

Across Official Washington from liberal to neocon, from pol to pundit the conventional wisdom on Syria’s crisis is that threats of military force work. But that simplistic notion misses the disasters that can follow if the threat is ignored or how bullying might…

Putin Touches an ‘Exceptional’ Nerve

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony  on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

Official Washington is in full outrage mode over a New York Times opinion article by Russian President Vladimir Putin who dared question the idea that the U.S. has a special indeed “exceptional” right to intervene militarily anywhere it wishes around…

In Case You Missed…

Some of our special stories in August focused on the worsening crisis in Syria, the injustice of the Manning case, the history of U.S. war crimes using nukes and chemical weapons, and the Right’s disdain for reality.

Contrasting Reactions to Egypt, Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at Cabinet meeting. (Photo credit: Israeli government)

Israel’s preferences for Egypt’s military regime and against Syria’s authoritarian one continue to shape U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In Egypt, President Obama has accepted a coup that ousted an elected government, while in Syria, he threatens war,…

Israel Lobby Backs Bombing Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Obama’s limited war resolution against Syria cleared its initial congressional hurdle on a 10-7 vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but its overall chances got a bigger boost from an endorsement by the powerful Israel Lobby, as ex-CIA analyst…

Putting a Rush to War on Pause

President Barack Obama makes a statement on the situation in Syria, with Vice President Joe Biden, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Aug. 31, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

By seeking congressional approval before bombing Syria, President Obama may have recognized a political reality the danger from pressing ahead unilaterally on a risky mission but the move also offers a valuable breather in the hasty rush to war, as…

The Risk from Distorting Intelligence

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

The Obama administration’s emotional reaction to the alleged chemical attack in Syria may be understandable given the human toll, but the high-level clamor for action put pressure on intelligence analysts assessing the evidence. It also could have distorted their judgments, as ex-CIA analyst…

Dangling Questions on Syrian War

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urges all sides to give UN inspectors time to complete their investigation into alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria. (UN photo)

Official Washington’s neocons are in full-throated war cry over Syria, creating what many of them surely hope is a momentum toward a U.S. intervention that cooler heads won’t be able to stop. But many questions regarding this latest rush to…