Paul Pillar

Stand Up to the Intimidators

The effort to slander Chuck Hagel and to torpedo his potential nomination to be secretary of defense has reached such intensity that there is now much more at stake in this nomination than just who will be running the Pentagon over the next four years.

Opposing Apartheid, Then and Now

Several factors contributed to the demise of apartheid in the land where that term originated, South Africa. Inspired and timely leadership within South Africa was an important ingredient. But international agitation and pressure, based on a widespread sense of moral outrage, undoubtedly were also critical.

Abe and Japanese Security Policy

A landslide victory for the Liberal Democratic Party in elections Sunday for the lower house of the Japanese legislature has given party leader Shinzo Abe something no other Japanese politician has achieved in the last half century: a second chance as prime minister.

Congress Hinders Progress on Iran

The latest indication of how sanctions-imposing initiatives in Congress have deteriorated into mindless Iran-bashing is how the Obama administration has had to weigh in on the writing of the defense authorization bill to minimize the damage it does to U.S. diplomacy on Iran.

The Baggage of an In-and-Outer

It is difficult to remember the last time a not-yet-and-maybe-never-secretary-designate of some cabinet department got as much preemptive opposition as Susan Rice has been getting regarding the job of secretary of state.

Meshal Goes Out of Bounds

What Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal said at a mass rally in Gaza City on Saturday was contemptible. Taken at face value, his words eradicated any distinction between Israeli and Palestinian territory, and any possibility of Israelis and Palestinians living in peace.

Zoning Out in the Middle East

This was supposed to be the month for an international conference to discuss a possible weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East. The concept of such a zone has been addressed in past review conferences of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT), sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, and meetings at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Meaning of Sovereignty

Former Senator Bob Dole, 89 years old, returned this week to the floor of the chamber where he was for many years one of the leading Republicans. He also, of course, had twice represented his party on a national ticket as the nominee for vice president and then for president.