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

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...
Read more
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...
Read more
Views
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...
Read more
Views
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...
Read more
Views
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’...
Read more
Views
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...
Read more
Views
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Why, and How, Congress Should Enact an AUMF
The request by a U.S. Army captain to a federal court for a declaratory judgment about his constitutional duties regarding going to war is the latest reminder of the unsatisfactory situation in which the United States is engaged in military operations in multiple overseas locales without any...
Read more
Views
Friday, February 19, 2016
Playing Whack-a-Terrorist in Libya
The “next front against Islamic State,” as a headline in The Economist puts it, appears to be Libya. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, had talks last month with his French counterpart with an eye toward taking “decisive military action” against ISIS. Regardless...
Read more
Views
Monday, July 27, 2015
The Unreality of the Iran-Nuke Fight
An air of unreality pervades much of the debate on the agreement to restrict Iran’s nuclear program. Opponents of the agreement raise issue after issue on which the agreement is clearly superior to the alternative that would exist if the opponents succeed in getting the U.S. Congress to kill the...
Read more
Views
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The Iran Talks Game Changer: An Israeli-Hezbollah War?
There are signs Israel may be at war again this summer. This time, not with Hamas in Gaza but with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Such a war may be the result not only of spillover from the Syrian war or ongoing Israeli-Hezbollah tensions. The deciding factor may be an Israeli calculation that war will...
Read more

Pages