Paul Pillar

Paul Pillar

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies.

Articles by this author

"It is especially plausible to assume that the interests motivating Trump were the interests of Donald Trump more than the interests of the United States." (Mike Trukhachev/Shutterstock/cc) Views
Thursday, July 19, 2018
The Multiple Facets of the Russia Problem
Two different issues—Russian interference in the U.S. election of 2016 and overall U.S. policy toward Russia—too often have been conflated. Donald Trump’s questioning of the interference and his submission to Russian President Vladimir Putin have tainted what in other circumstances would be seen as...
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"In continuing his agreement-killing campaign this week with another prop-dependent show-and-tell, Netanyahu has abandoned any effort to be logical in arguing against the JCPOA."(Photo: Screenshot) Views
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Netanyahu Makes a Case for the JCPOA
Benjamin Netanyahu’s display of a cartoon bomb before the United Nations General Assembly nearly six years ago received much ridicule but at least was grounded in some facts about uranium enrichment levels and how they relate to the ability to make a nuclear weapon. These days, Netanyahu doesn’t...
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John Bolton (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc) Views
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
The Bolton-Pompeo Package
This week John Bolton assumes the job of national security advisor. Given that a key function of that position is to ensure that the bureaucracy provides the relevant options and most accurate information to the president before major national security decisions, it is hard to think of anyone more...
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"The intrusion of private interests into U.S. foreign policy under this administration is not limited to the Trumps’ own commercial interests." (Photo: White House) Views
Monday, February 26, 2018
The Privatization of U.S. Foreign Policy
The unethical blurring of private interests and public business is a hallmark of Donald Trump’s presidency. That blurring has increasingly involved U.S. foreign policy. The possible effects on U.S. foreign relations may be subtle and largely out of public view. But they arise every time, for...
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Donald Trump Views
Wednesday, July 05, 2017
The Plummeting of U.S. Standing in the World
The Pew Research Center released last week the results of one of its periodic surveys of global views of the United States and its leadership and policies. More than 40,000 people were polled in 37 countries across six continents between February and May. The most salient finding is a dramatic drop...
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Views
Saturday, April 01, 2017
Excusing Bahrain’s Human Rights Abuses
The Trump administration has decided to remove any conditions regarding human rights from sales of F-16 fighter aircraft and other arms to Bahrain. The rationale for doing so is the idea that hard power considerations ought to come before softer concerns for the rights of someone else’s citizens...
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Monday, December 26, 2016
Trump's Disappearing 'Neutral Guy'
Presidents-elect of the United States generally have hewn to the dictum that the country has only one president at a time, and that this is especially important with foreign policy. The incoming president plans, appoints, announces, and does anything else he wants to indicate what his course will...
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Friday, November 25, 2016
Ideology Is Supplanting Intelligence
With Donald Trump’s earliest appointments to senior national security positions, some of the disturbing implications for the making of foreign policy of his own lack of qualifications for office are beginning to appear. A president-elect whose outrage-filled campaign alienated many serious thinkers...
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Monday, September 05, 2016
The Scuffle Over ‘American Exceptionalism’
Hillary Clinton gave a speech last week in which American exceptionalism was a major theme. She obviously chose that theme partly because it would appeal to her specific audience (an American Legion convention) and partly because it would enable her to criticize Donald Trump, who has said he doesn’...
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Turkey’s Faltering Democracy
Before this week it had come to be broadly accepted conventional wisdom that the days of Turkish military coups were over. After a post-World War II history in which the military had taken over the government about once every ten years, in the last couple of decades the return to the barracks...
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