The Fog of Selling a War

by Paul R. Pillar The “fog of war,” about which Carl von Clausewitz wrote, refers to the confusion and lack of knowledge of what an adversary is up to on a chaotic battlefield. Currently, those promoting or welcoming a war… Continue Reading  

The Maximum Pressure Campaign Presses Toward War

by Paul R. Pillar The statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the latest incident involving tankers in the Gulf of Oman is questionable on multiple counts, beginning with his immediate, semi-automatic attribution of responsibility to Iran. The origin… Continue Reading  

Why Bullying Isn’t Working in Foreign Policy

by Paul R. Pillar Seemingly endless threats, insults, punishment, and attempts at coercion have been a leading feature of Donald Trump’s foreign policy. The pervasive bullying so far has not been matched by a comparable degree of positive results, as… Continue Reading  

The Russia Investigation and Cherry-Picking of Intelligence

by Paul R. Pillar The selective release of classified information from U.S. intelligence agencies has long been a favorite way for administrations to make a public case amid doubt or controversy. Raw intelligence lends a cachet of seriousness and authenticity… Continue Reading  

Paying the Nationalist Piper in the U.K. and U.S.

by Paul R. Pillar Current political strife in the United Kingdom and the United States has been providing a study in political pathology, partly involving parallels between the two countries and partly involving contrasts. I wrote earlier about how a… Continue Reading