Paul Pillar

International Institutions Come in Handy

The United States has an inveterate domestic opposition, concentrated primarily on one side of its political spectrum, to any participation in international institutions, broadly defined. Institutions for this purpose include not only general-purpose international organizations but also the legal structures provided by multilateral treaties. Often there are specific, legitimate objections involved, but most of the opposition is of a more general and visceral nature.

False Choices on Iran

A well-recognized attribute of opinion polling is that the wording of questions heavily influences the results of a poll. Even experienced and reputable organizations without any apparent ax to grind nonetheless sometimes fall into sloppy wording that heavily and misleadingly skews the responses.

Why a 'Game Changer'?

President Obama's visit to Israel has shaped up the way the White House probably hoped and expected it to, which is to say without surprises or major hiccups and with pre-programmed messages coming through strongly. There have been three such messages in particular.

The Strange Friendship

Commentary yet to be written on President Obama's visit to Israel no doubt will be infused with readings of the congeniality meter—assessments of whether meetings between the president and the Israeli prime minister show any evidence of warming of U.S.-Israeli relations. Consensus expectations seem to be pretty low on this score, but that will not stop the meter-reading.

The Gun Lobby Tackles Foreign Policy

Those of us who worry and write more about about foreign affairs than about domestic ones have largely been spared confrontation with the formidable U.S. gun lobby. There is only the sadness any citizen can feel at this country's political inability to regulate effectively the trade in implements used in the sorts of violent incidents that have led gun control to move back, at least for now, to a prominent place on the national agenda.