A necessary and unprecedented account of America's changing relationship with Israel.
When it comes to Israel, US 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 US policy toward the Middle East, and Israel specifically, for nearly 30 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 US policy in that light.
©2015 Dennis Ross (P)2015 Macmillan Audio
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is an absolutely fascinating book so packed with information I could hardly put it down. Dennis Ross has served as one of the United States Middle Eastern policy makers through four recent administrations. Ross states this is not a history of Arab-Israeli peace efforts but rather a discussion of the evolution of Israeli-American diplomatic relations. Ross discusses the relationship with each president starting with Truman’s recognition of Israel just eleven minutes after its Declaration of Statehood in 1948.
Ross enumerates the number of factors leading to a strengthening of the ties during the Cold War. The author also covers the problems for the U.S. regarding the Israel-Arab hostilities mostly “The Palestinian Question.” Ross discusses each of the key people including the America’s own Machiavelli, Henry Kissinger. The author also investigates the relationship of Israel’s prime ministers along with the United States presidents. I found it most interesting to learn how the various Presidents interacted with their Secretary of State’s; some presented the big picture of what they wanted to achieve and left the Secretary of State on their own to implement, others like Obama controlled everything from the White House and the Secretary of State was just an errand boy. I found a comment made by Ross most interesting and it triggered me to do a literature search to verify the comment. The comment is the Palestinians have never initiated a peace offering in all these years.
The book is well researched and also provides eyewitness accounts of the history it analyses. The author writes clearly and elucidates the complexities of the United States-Israel relationship and also the larger picture of the Middle East. The book is thoughtful and even handed in covering the material. The book is fairly long at almost 500 pages or 19 audio hours. Michael Kramer did a good job narrating the book.
There is probably no one better positioned to provide this panoramic historical review of the US - Israel relationship. You will need some fair background to understand the story - Do you remember the Sinai Campaign of 1956? - but Dennis Ross provides a lot of useful perspective. He emphasizes that our Arab friends do not prioritize resolving the Israel - Palestinian conflict, but he has devoted countless years to trying to resolve it.
I have read many books on this subject but this one is not one of the better. The language is pretty dull and the author tells the anecdotes of his role in different negotiations without any real enthusiasm. The narrator is very monotone also, compared to other narrators you can find through Audible.
I would recommend Cursed Victory by Ahron Bregman over this, even though it's focused on Israel's occupied territories. Or the Prime Ministers, which is of course only focused on the Israel side of things.
Rather than take an honest look at the US relationship with Israel as one would hope in picking up this book, Ross uses this piece to manipulate the reader/listener with subtle mischaracterizations of people and events, wily use of language carefully designed to mislead, and outright lies. I'm surprised that the publisher allowed him to publish lies that have repeatedly been debunked. Garbage.
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