Paul R. Pillar

Paul R. Pillar is Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution.  He is a contributing editor to The National Interestwhere he writes a blog.


Nation-states, and conflicts centering on them, remain the defining features of our time.

In the wake of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Americans cried out for catharsis. The 9/11 Commission delivered. What we are left with is an ill-conceived bureacracy in the guise of reform.

The results are in. Did the United States pass the test? Leading terrorism experts hand in their marks on U.S. efforts.

The CIA’s estimate of WMD in Iraq is in the spotlight, but it was their assessments of post-Saddam Iraq that were dead-on and deserve attention. David Ignatius highlighted Paul Pillar’s story of how the agency

The Great Debate

Should Kabul be the focus of Obama’s strategic agenda? Former NIO Pillar argues intervention has devolved into a worthless quagmire. Iraq War veteran Nagl believes we must vanquish al-Qaeda to the borderlands of AfPak.


Iran was a glorious empire, but has also been a conquered nation. This complex mixture of pride and insecurity continues to define the Republic.

The Bush administration may have gotten a lot wrong, but there is still hope for America’s policy in the Middle East. Three books shed some light on how the United States can get over Iraq.


Our obsession with al-Qaeda is blinding us to the real threat: decentralized groups of already radicalized individuals attacking American targets on their own. Escalating conflicts in the Muslim world won’t solve the problem—it will only make the

Ahmadinejad’s “victory” in Iran has caused internal disorder—and could poison the Obama administration’s efforts at engagement.

The results are in. Leading terrorism experts hand in their marks on how the United States is doing in its struggle against global extremism.

With the CIA under fire once again—this time for pre-9/11 failures—it is also important to know what the agency got right. Its assessments of post-Saddam Iraq were dead-on and deserve attention.

Blog Posts

Journalistic coverage of the NSA revelations has hardly been worthy of the Pulitzer.

The law and politics of denying Iran's prospective UN ambassador a visa.

Putting the confessed spy on the table in the peace talks was always a bad idea. 

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April 21, 2014