Tag Archive for Paul R. Pillar


Cameron Calls Out Iran-Talk Saboteurs

President Barack Obama greets Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom prior to a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Jan. 16, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As U.S. neocons and other hardliners keep trying to sabotage Iranian nuclear talks, British Prime Minister Cameron is the latest world leader to call them out on their sophistry about how threatening additional pain on Iran would help negotiations, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

The Problems with Being Charlie

Islamic terrorists prepare to execute a wounded policeman after their attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, 2015.

It’s one thing to decry all terrorism and defend the principle of free expression; it’s another to show disproportionate concern for some victims over others and to embrace offensive or irresponsible media content, troubling issues from the Charlie Hebdo case, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

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, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

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.