Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar

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Americans Losing Faith in Democracy

President James Madison, an architect of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but also a Virginia slave owner.

Except perhaps on the well-funded Right with its potent Fox News/talk radio media machine, Americans feel increasingly powerless to influence policies either to address their economic plight or to curtail the nation’s overseas military adventures, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Risk of Misreading Russia’s Intent

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of  Sevastopol from the Nazis. (Russian government photo)

Official Washington’s “group think” on Ukraine holds that the crisis is all about Russian “aggression” and “expansionism” even with comparisons to Hitler. But such a hyperbolic interpretation of intent can create its own dangerous dynamics, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

The Risks of No Iran-Nuke Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks sith Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu about Iranian Nuclear Talks in Vienna. (State Department photo)

Facing Republican/neocon pressure, President Obama balked at a final deal with Iran over its nuclear program, extending talks but increasing chances that political forces in Iran might repudiate more moderate leaders favoring a deal, a risk that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar says would not serve U.S. or Iranian interests.

Will the Iran Deal-Wreckers Prevail?

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

Iran appears ready to sign an agreement tightly constraining its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief, but neocons and other U.S. hardliners appear determined to wreck the deal, which could make Mideast tensions even worse, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Neocons’ Fateful Iraq ‘Surge’ Myth

Coffins of dead U.S. soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in 2006. (U.S. government photo)

After provoking the Iraq War debacle, America’s neocons found themselves on the defensive but soon came up with a “theme” to salvage their reputations – the  myth of the “successful surge” – what might be called the last lie of Iraq War I or the first lie of Iraq War II, as ex-CIA analyst Paul…

GOP Climate-Deniers Lose a Point

President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China greet children during the State Arrival Welcome Ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Nov. 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Republican mid-term victories were viewed as a big win for global-warming deniers and their oil-and-coal industry backers, but China’s surprising acceptance of greenhouse gas limits removes one of the chief arguments against the U.S. doing something about the climate crisis, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama Slammed for Iran Outreach

President Barack Obama talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

American neocons are furious that President Obama reportedly sent a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei apparently urging concessions on nuclear talks and referencing joint interests in combating Islamic State radicals, but the letter may reflect smart diplomacy, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Will Obama’s Foreign Policy Finally Emerge?

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice in the Oval Office on March 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Given the poisonous partisanship of modern Washington, it was hard to know what President Obama would do on foreign policy if he weren’t scared about the Democrats losing the next election. Now that excuse is gone and Obama has two years to act, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Private-Sector Failures in Space Travel

The Antares rocket exploded on take-off on Oct. 28, 2014. (NASA Photo)

It is an article of faith on the American Right that government is bad or at least inept and business is good and efficient. But the reality is often quite different especially in areas where safety should be paramount and the public interest is at stake, such as space travel, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R.…

Israel Tests the Bounds of Its US Clout

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.

Israeli resistance to deals on Palestinian peace and Iran’s nuclear program has strained U.S.-Israeli relations and will test if Congress is more loyal to Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Obama. But the tension underscores a deeper division between the two countries, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.