Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

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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.

The Islamic State Stumbles

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Last summer, there was widespread hysteria across Official Washington over the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the brutal Islamic State – and handwringing over President Obama’s limited military response – but the jihadist momentum now shows signs of stalling, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

‘Terrorism’ Hysteria over Sony Hack

A poster from Sony's "The Interview" starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Some U.S. moviegoers say they are standing up to North Korean “cyber-terrorism” by going to see Sony’s “The Interview,” a comedy that makes light of assassinating real-life leader Kim Jong-un. But the furor over a retaliatory hack of Sony has the look of just the latest U.S. hysteria, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Will ‘New Obama’ Bring Hope for Change?

President Barack Obama runs onto a stage in Rockville, Maryland, Oct. 3, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has finally shown glimmers of the leader that many Americans thought they saw in 2008, as he displays some boldness in ending U.S. hostility toward Cuba and acting on global warming. But it remains unclear if this “new Obama” will offer more reasons to hope for change, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama’s Belated Realism on Cuba

President Barack Obama talks on the phone at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Dec. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has been what you might call a “closet realist,” favoring pragmatic approaches to world problems but afraid to buck Official Washington’s dominant “tough-guy-ism.” But he came out of the closet at least briefly in ending the Cuban embargo, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar writes.

Sabotaging an Iran Nuke Deal

An Iranian man holding a photo of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

Tough-guy-ism remains a dominant ideology of Official Washington, even when it does no good for genuine U.S. interests. A case in point is the unending sabotage of a possible negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

Finally, US Leadership on Global Warming

Image of Planet Earth taken from Apollo 17

For years as global warming grew worse, the U.S. government found reasons not to act, but finally the Obama administration has not only talked the talk but walked the walk with tighter CO2 regulations, an example of real leadership, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.