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  

Gaza: The Open-Air Prison Seethes

Protest in Gaza (stichting kifaia via Flickr)

by Paul R. Pillar Two recent pieces of news highlight—one indirectly and the other directly—the plight of inhabitants of the miserable patch known as the Gaza Strip. The indirect report involves demographic data, based on official Israeli numbers that surfaced… Continue Reading