Each of the past six U.S. presidents has become deeply involved in the diplomacy surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict. The same has certainly been true for President Bill Clinton. In this book, William Quandt offers the hopeful message that the United States, if it plays its role of mediator skillfully, can contribute to a resolution of the dispute between Israel and its Arab neighbors. He cautions, however, that presidents and their advisers have often misread the realities of the Middle East and pursued flawed policies--especially during the years when the Middle East was viewed through a cold war lens. The result was, at times, a worsening of the conflict. [via]
Quandt provides a detailed account of American policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict since the June 1967 war. He assesses each administration's initial approach to the problem of peacemaking, along with the evolution of policy as it confronted the stubborn realities of the region and the minefields of domestic political controversy. Given the complexity of the challenge, American policy has shown remarkable consistency and surprising successes, not least that Egypt and Israel are at peace with one another and are both friendly to the United States. More recently, other Arab parties have begun to negotiate with Israel under American auspices. One of the points on which presidents of both political parties have agreed is that an American role in support of Arab-Israeli peace is consistent with American national interests.
A participant in the policymaking process on two occasions as a member of the National Security Council staff in the Nixon and Carter administrations, Quandt brings his experience to bear on this analysis of how decisions are made on a particularly sensitive foreign policy issue. The book concludes with lessons derived from a quarter century of American involvement with the Arab-Israeli peace process.