Paul Pillar

Politicking in Pakistan

Americans observe the most recent political maneuvering in Pakistan—a withdrawal from the governing coalition by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), depriving the government of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of a parliamentary majority—with perpetual nervousness about this South Asian nation of more than 170 million. The nervousness has intensified over the past couple of years.

Impose a Peace

One should be hesitant about proposing New Year's resolutions for the president of the United States, especially ones that would involve a lot of effort and commitment on his part. However important the topic of the proposal, there will always be many other matters, some impossible to foresee on December 31st, that will necessarily and properly occupy his time, attention, and political resources.

The Tragic Right Turn

I once attended a speech by Golda Meir during a visit she made to the United States in the 1970s shortly after stepping down as prime minister of Israel. In talking about the advantages in resources the Arab states had over Israel, she jokingly blamed Moses.  Too bad, said Meir, that after leading his people across the miraculously parted Red Sea, he did not turn right—to where the oil was—but instead turned left.

The Great Divides of Africa

One of the two most prominent divides in Africa is the Great Rift Valley, the geological scar that runs north and south along the eastern half of the continent and has been forming over eons as the African tectonic plate slowly splits into two.

The Iranian Dog That Isn't Barking

The announcement over the weekend by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of drastic cuts in subsidies for fuel and food would seem to be good news for those hoping the regime in Tehran will feel pain from being squeezed by sanctions. Such a big and risky move in the direction of austerity must be the result of some kind of pain.