The Terrorism Label

Cory Gardner with John McCain in the background (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

by Paul R. Pillar A recent op-ed from Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) calls for officially designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. Gardner offers a long indictment—a “moral case,” as he calls it—against Russia that mostly involves activities other than terrorism,… Continue Reading  

Prague and a Pardon

Trump lawyer/adviser Michael Cohen (Wikimedia Commons)

by Paul R. Pillar The principal motivation for Donald Trump’s pardon of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is obvious, as many commentators have quickly discerned. The explanation flows directly from how Trump has used the power to pardon, how he has… Continue Reading  

Non-Accomplishment in Syria

James Mattis and Joseph Dunford briefing reporters on the April 14 military operation against Syria (Wikimedia Commons)

by Paul R. Pillar The missile strike against Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack has given many people a cathartic moment without having to produce any new and effective ideas about how to deal with the ugly conflict… Continue Reading  

The Bolton-Pompeo Package

John Bolton (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

by Paul R. Pillar 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… Continue Reading  

Syria and Donald Trump’s Impulses

Operation Inherent Resolve against the Islamic State (U.S. Marines)

by Paul R. Pillar Impending decisions about U.S. troops in Syria will be the next significant outcome of the continuing tussle, between a president’s urges and his appointees, that constitutes Donald Trump’s foreign policy. Given Trump’s limited attention span and… Continue Reading