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Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama by [Ross, Dennis]
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Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama Kindle Edition

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“Dennis Ross and ‘Middle East Peace Process’ are nearly synonymous . . . In Doomed to Succeed, the Washington hand brings his account up to date by covering the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations and looking at U.S.-Israel relations from Truman on . . . Mr. Ross’s treatment of each administration is necessarily brief but useful for that very reason: It’s hard to think of a college course on this subject that would not assign this book as a text.” ―Elliot Abrams, The Wall Street Journal

“In this well researched history Ross meticulously chronicles the bumpy ride that the two nations have taken together . . . This book is both thoughtful and largely even-handed. It also provides an important eyewitness account of the history it analyses.” ―David Holahan, Christian Science Monitor

“It would be hard to find someone whose background better suited him to write about the U.S.-Israel relationship than Dennis Ross . . . His new book does not disappoint: Doomed to Succeed devotes a pithy chapter to each administration, explaining its policies and the reasoning behind them. ”
―David Isaac, The Washington Free Beacon

“Dennis Ross could hardly have found more relevant timing to release his latest book examining the long history of the US-Israel relationship, including an often personal account of the tumultuous relationship between Jerusalem and the Obama administration.” ―Rebecca Shimoni Stoil, The Times of Israel

“Ross’s even-handed history does identify perhaps the single biggest factor in explaining U.S. missteps concerning Israel and the region as a whole.” ―Peter Berkowitz, Real Clear Politics

“Throughout this illuminating book, [Dennis Ross] writes clearly and elucidates the complexities of not only the U.S.-Israel relationship, but of the larger Middle Eastern picture. He comes neither to bury nor praise the administrations in which he has worked or those in which he did not; as a consequence, readers will benefit from a front-row vantage point without encountering a myopic perspective. Ross provides a learned, wise template for understanding the long-term relationship between two countries tethered to one another out of shared self-interest and geopolitical necessity and yet with sometimes-conflicting senses of the way forward.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Ross deftly explores the contingencies of this history, which hinged on personality clashes, the chaos of events, and the personal attitudes held by presidents, while stressing broader themes . . . . Ross's fluently written account includes colorful firsthand recollections of crises and diplomatic wranglings. Readers of all political persuasions will enjoy this fresh, contrarian analysis of America's Middle East policy.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Few people have been more involved with the U.S.-Israel relationship and the broader Middle East than Dennis Ross. In his new book he provides both a remarkable history and an insider's explanation of what has driven our policy towards Israel and the region. In the process, he tells a fascinating story not only about how the relationship evolved over time, but also about the assumptions that continue to shape our views of the region and the lessons we need to draw from this. For anyone who cares about U.S.-Israeli ties, this is a must read.” ―Madeleine K. Albright, 64th U.S. Secretary of State

“How about an insider's views? How about writing from a constructive point of view? How about learning something about Israel, the U.S. and the Middle East? That's all here thanks to Dennis Ross.” ―George P. Shultz, 60th U.S. Secretary of State

Doomed to Succeed is a thoughtful book worthy of a man we called our 'peace process junkie' when he served as head of the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning Staff while I was Secretary of State. Dennis Ross is a fine diplomat who intimately and accurately understands the Arab-Israeli conflict. His new book is a must-read for anyone interested in the U.S.-Israel relationship.” ―James A. Baker, III, 61st U.S. Secretary of State

“Dennis Ross brings a unique mix of experience and skill to the task of telling the story of America's relationship and encounters with Israel over the last six decades. He is an unparalleled combination of careful scholar and practitioner. Ross has been at the center of United States policy in the Middle East for three decades. No U.S. diplomat has known the key policymakers in the Middle East for as long as or as well as Ross. All this is reflected in this fascinating history. It compellingly chronicles the personalities, policy debates and seemingly unending crises the U.S. has confronted in the Middle East from the time of Israel's founding and the presidency of Harry Truman through today. Doomed to Succeed is destined to be an important work for a long time to come.” ―Tom Donilon, former National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama

“This remarkable book is a definitive treatment of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. A gifted analyst and veteran diplomat, Dennis Ross demonstrates that to maintain this 'strategic partnership' both sides must commit to 'no surprises,' intensive high-level consultations, and 'no unilateral actions' that threaten each other's fundamental interests. A must-read book for future policy-makers.” ―Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush

“For almost forty years, Dennis Ross has been an inside player and close observer of Israeli-U.S. relations. In this smart and provocative book, he provides an insightful look at the policies toward Israel pursued from the Truman Administration to the present and how that has affected America's relationships in the Middle East. It's not only great history but a guide for the future.” ―Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

“Dennis Ross has written what might be the definitive book on one of the most complicated, emotionally fraught and strategically consequential relationships between two states in the world today. No one is better positioned than Ross to explore the contours of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and he does so lucidly, with nuance, analytical sophistication, a cool eye, and great authority. Doomed to Succeed will be mandatory reading for anyone concerned about the future of Israel, and about America's role in the world.” ―Jeffrey Goldberg, author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror

Product Description

A necessary and unprecedented account of America's changing relationship with Israel

When it comes to Israel, U.S. policy has always emphasized the unbreakable bond between the two countries and our ironclad commitment to Israel's security. Today our ties to Israel are close—so close that when there are differences, they tend to make the news. But it was not always this way.
Dennis Ross has been a direct participant in shaping U.S. policy toward the Middle East, and Israel specifically, for nearly thirty years. He served in senior roles, including as Bill Clinton's envoy for Arab-Israeli peace, and was an active player in the debates over how Israel fit into the region and what should guide our policies. In Doomed to Succeed, he takes us through every administration from Truman to Obama, throwing into dramatic relief each president's attitudes toward Israel and the region, the often tumultuous debates between key advisers, and the events that drove the policies and at times led to a shift in approach.
Ross points out how rarely lessons were learned and how distancing the United States from Israel in the Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, and Obama administrations never yielded any benefits and why that lesson has never been learned. Doomed to Succeed offers compelling advice for how to understand the priorities of Arab leaders and how future administrations might best shape U.S. policy in that light.


Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2256 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Oct. 13 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00V36OEQG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #145,727 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover
The more I get into this book, the more I appreciate how complex the Middle East has become as a geopolitical expression and how important American diplomatic efforts have been in keeping the region relative'y stable. From the Truman to Obama administrations, each succeeding president has been cognizant of his responsibility to make sure that American Middle-East interests are diligently protected. Ross, the consummate envoy of several presidents, expertly takes us through years of delicate, high-wire diplomacy where Washington struggled to keep the lid on this witches cauldron. The more successful strategy, in short, has been to back states like Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with state-of-the-art military hardware to offset the growing Soviet influence in Egypt, Iran and Syria. In the case of Israel, the US has learned, over time, that backing this nation is one very delicate balancing act. To much strategic aid has been known to limit its geopolitical influence elsewhere in the area. On the whole, Ross believes that US presidents, over the length of their respective administrations, have actually succeeded in keeping a lid on tensions between traditional enemies such as Israel and the PLO. The challenge, as always, is to determine how far to go with military support without pushing the area into large-scale war. Any efforts to succeed in effecting a permanent peace among the major players, especially now that radical Islam has become a major player, is unrealistic if it does not include respecting Israel's borders and maintaining the current balance of power. There are so many contingencies at work here that the best we can expect for the Middle East in the future is an uneasy, diplomatic peace where gradualism, rather than triumphalism, dictates progress.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa69ec678) out of 5 stars 66 reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7970a5c) out of 5 stars The key to understanding the Middle East Dec 20 2015
By snacks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Dennis Ross presents a clear, fact-based, and brilliant approach to understanding the Middle East: He shows that the fundamental American misunderstanding of the Middle East is the widespread belief that ideology plays a greater role than realpolitik in the thoughts and actions of the various governments in the region. This belief is reinforced by the disparity between the words, both public and private, and deeds of the non-democratic Middle Eastern governments.

Specifically, Ross argues that while the Arab governments support the Palestinians, Palestinian justice has never been a priority of the Arab governments, which are primarily concerned with the external and internal stability and legitimacy of their governments. Ross proves this point with many examples, including the compelling fact that Israel has managed to achieve a state of peace and non-belligerency with many of its neighboring Arab states despite its ongoing struggle with the Palestinians.

Tragically, American administration's lack of understanding often causes it to take actions counterproductive to both its interests and its values, chiefly among these, it's support for democracy (in the full sense of minority rights and minority participation in government), human rights, and peace.

Ross's policy recommendations include:
• Continued engagement with the region, because if we are not proactive there we will inevitably be reactive.
• Offering greater support to our allies in the region (including Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia) and greater challenging of our foes (chiefly Iran) because that will greatly increase our influence in the region which we can use to promote our values there.
• Strengthening our relationship with Israel because our strong relationship costs us little with the Arabs; rather, it greatly increases our leverage with them and generates great security and intelligence benefits for us.
• Act in the region with the confidence of our immense military power and with the knowledge that the governments in the region lack both military might and legitimacy and respect us for decisive action in support of our allies and interests.
• Understand the complex dynamics of the inter-Arab / inter-states rivalry rather than assuming an "Israel against the region" worldview.
• Use the first Gulf War as a guideline for future military intervention in the region.
Although few administrations have taken the evidence of the last 60 years to heart, it is crucial that future American diplomats read Ross's book, absorb its complex portrayal of the Middle East, and act, armed with knowledge, in the place of simplistic stereotypes, in the region.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa69ce498) out of 5 stars Forgotten lessons in American Israel policy Nov. 30 2015
By D. Rozenson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dennis Ross's newest book makes a significant contribution to the history of the U.S.-Israel political relationship: He allows us to move past frustrating and emotionally charged terminology like "pro-" or "anti-Israel" in evaluating Presidents' policies toward Israel. The truth is that every President has wanted to maintain friendly relations with both Israel and the Arab world, but their attitudes towards certain assumptions about the region have guided how they approach this ostensible paradox. Two mind-sets -- one that values distance from Israel and another that values closeness -- have been present in U.S. policy throughout Israel's history. Ross uses his view of American diplomatic history to argue that not only have the distancers usually been wrong about the consequences of being close to Israel, they have rarely challenged the initial assumptions that guided them to a mistaken view. Ross's use of evidence is compelling and references long forgotten diplomatic history that should inform present and future policymakers. My lone critique of this work is its extensiveness in retelling the history. Sometimes the prose continues for a lengthy while before Ross circles back to his points.
20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa69a94a4) out of 5 stars A fact driven narrative by an insider Oct. 25 2015
By Stuart M. Wilder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a lot about the Middle East, and am pleasantly surprised when a new book, in adiditon to giving me facts I did not know berore, also gives me a fact based perspective I never considered. The central premise of Ross; book is that the United States never did itself or anyione else a favor when its policy penalized Israel out of fear that failure to do so would anger Arab nations. Examining United States policy both as an insider and historian, Ross shows that busting Israeli chops over settlements, not sending it arms, and standing aside when others condemned her never bought any freidns in the Middle East. At times, expecially in the wake of the overthrow of Mubarak and the resurgence of the Moselme Brotherhood, Arab countrioes who are our friends wished our government would listen to Israel more. Ross does not denigrate U.S. participation and leadership in searching to a solution to the Palestinian problem, but he shows that when it was driven by the hope it would get us frieds, we have been disappointed every time. Ross has been an insider in Republican and Democratic administrations, and is no one's cheerleader. He is not uncritical of Israel either, but points out that the U.S.-Israel relationship succeeds, and our relations with its Arab neighbors throve, when we think about each other's security interests, and do not do things, like elevating solving the problem of the Palestinians' inability (because of occupation by Israel and miserable leadership by their leaders) to govern themselves above all else when dealing with the Middle East, that have never gained the U.S., its allies, or even the Palestinians any concrete gains.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6d2abe8) out of 5 stars A Lesson Nov. 17 2015
By Thomas H. Frankel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dennis Ross has put a very readable treatise together that demonstrates both the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. - Israel relationship. The ebb and flow of that relationship should be a learning experience for both countries. Sadly they seem to repeat non productive patterns of behavior without learning from history.

We are all fortunate that someone with Ross's body of knowledge has recorded events. Now we need to get those in power to carefully read this book and implement its lessons.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa67c0d74) out of 5 stars Required Reading for the Middle East. Feb. 18 2016
By Shadowreader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A oft-stated premise of US foreign policy in the Middle East is that Israel complicates and impedes good relations with Arab nations. This truth is so well fixed in the minds of senior military and policy analysts, that many US administrations have found it desirable to create distance from Israel in order to improve our seemingly fragile Arab relationships.

Now Dennis Ross supplies a cogent analysis and refutation of this thesis. Ross has held various government posts over a career spanning five presidential administrations (Reagan to Obama). He reviews US foreign policy towards Israel and the Arabs from Truman to the present, evaluating how friendly or distant each administration was to Israel, and how our relations with Israel affected relations with Arab nations, if at all.

He details our many incorrect assumptions about the needs and priorities of various Arab governments over the years, and shows that the Arab leaders’ primary concerns are their own legitimacy and security, and that closer US relations with Israel have never adversely impacted relations with our Arab allies. Hostile Arab nations might use Israel as an excuse, but here again, examples show their priorities have more to do with domestic or national security concerns than with Israel or the Palestinians. Conversely, US administrations that increased our distance from Israel never reaped any benefit; the most recent example being Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world at the beginning of his administration.

Ross’s account provides a behind the scenes look at the working of our national security and policy agencies and presidential administrations. Some surprising details emerge, with an overall more nuanced view of how policies are made and debated—or not debated. Ross served in both Republican and Democrat administrations and discusses them with respect, and without partisanship.

He concludes with lessons learned and how Middle East diplomacy towards Arabs and Israelis might proceed on a more refined basis.

This book is highly recommended, and should be required reading by anyone in the military or government who has any potential influence on Middle East policy. I especially recommend it to anyone with interest in foreign policy, the Middle East, or the Israel-Palestinian conflict.