Paul Pillar

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.

Chameleonic Opposition to an Iran Deal

In the long story of the evolving Iran nuclear issue, we naturally tend to focus on whatever is the chapter immediately before us. Right now that mainly involves the negotiation-subverting Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, which President Obama in his State of the Union address explicitly threatened to veto if Congress passed it.

How Much is a Drone Base Worth?

In searching and scratching for a reason for continuing the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, after thirteen years of warfare, the most commonly stated rationales come up short. The original purpose of the military intervention involved, of course, responding to an attack by a terrorist group that at the time had a presence in Afghanistan.

Men on Horseback in the Maghreb

The contrasting political trajectories of Tunisia and Egypt—the first and second countries out of the Arab Spring gate—have received much attention lately. Tunisians have exhibited more of a spirit of compromise, which has facilitated visible progress toward the sort of genuine democracy the country had lacked since independence.

Iran and the Stumble Toward Geneva II

The handling of the issue of Iranian participation in the next round of multilateral discussions on the civil war in Syria has been something of an embarrassment—certainly for the United States, the United Nations, and the conglomeration known as the Syrian opposition.