Paul Pillar

Netanyahu's Anti-Iranian Rant

Benjamin Netanyahu's tiresome vilification of Iran has taken on the characteristics of a rote obsession that diverges farther and farther from truth, reality, and his own ostensible objective. It is as if—in pursuing his real objective of keeping Iran ostracized, preventing any U.S.

The Sauna Files

A sometimes fascinating sideshow to political upheaval has been the sudden opening to public view of material evidence of how those who had been powerful and privileged, but are now fallen, had lived. There was, for example, the shoe collection of Imelda Marcos.

False Cheers for Democracy

A familiar conventional wisdom about how the last two U.S. administrations have approached democratization abroad has come up repeatedly in connection with crises in several foreign countries. George W.

Chinese Touchiness

The White House played things about right in the face of the expected and usual snit by China regarding a meeting with the Dalai Lama: to proceed with the meeting—although not in the Oval Office—and to disregard Beijing's complaining. The complaint has no merit, no matter how much China whinges about interference in internal affairs.

The Iran Negotiations Begin

As negotiations begin this week to reach a final agreement on restricting the Iranian nuclear program, some of the prognoses being offered sound like the deliberate lowering of expectations one commonly hears before U.S. presidential primary elections. President Obama already offered odds of 50-50 for success in the talks.

Confusion on Counterterrorism

If the American people's representatives in the U.S. Congress are looking for more productive ways to spend their time, one subject on which they could do useful work is reform of the legal basis for the use of force in the name of counterterrorism. The conceptual and legal foundation for lethal U.S. counterterrorist operations has had serious problems for some time.

Unsolvable Syria

It is easy to confuse possibility with responsibility, and policy with inescapable reality. Especially when headline-writers attempt to achieve compression—which, speaking of inescapable reality, is part of their job.

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