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In September 1978, William Quandt, a member of the White House National Security Council staff, spent thirteen momentous days at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, where three world leaders were holding secret negotiations. When U. S. President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin emerged on September 17, they announced a monumentalaccomplishment: the first peace agreement between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors. Praised by some for laying the foundations for peace between Egypt and Israel, the accords have also been criticized for failing to achieve a comprehensive settlement, including a resolution of the Palestinian question. But supporters and critics alike recognize the importance of what happened at Camp David, and both groups acknowledge the vital role played by the United States in reaching an agreement. There are few eyewitness accounts of the Camp David negotiations. Of the three leaders present, only Jimmy Carter wrote specifically of the talks in Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (1982). Neither Sadat nor Begin ever wrote about Camp David. Quandt's book is not only an eyewitness account but a scholar's reconstruction of the event, with insights into the people, politics, and policies. His Camp David has provided a comprehensive and lasting guide to the difficult negotiations surrounding the talks, including the fraught scenario leading up to the meetings at the presidential retreat andthe accord that would lead to Sadat and Begin jointly receiving the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. Praise for Camp David: Peacemaking and Politics"The most authoritative account of a major historic event, written with scrupulous scholarship by a key behind-the-scenes participant. "--Zbigniew Brzezinski, Adviser to the President for National Security Affairs, 1977-81 "An excellent piece of work. . . will represent a major contribution to the academic literature on American Middle East policy during the Carter administration. No one but Bill Quandt could, in my view, write so knowledgeable, yet so judiciously balanced, an account. "--Hermann Frederick Eilts, Director, Boston University Center for International Relations, and ambassador to Egypt, 1973-79 "Quandt writes as a participant in the process and as a thoughtful, proven scholar, an expert on international diplomacy and on the Middle East. "-- Foreign Affairs
Making peace in the long-troubled Middle East is likely to be one of the top priorities of the next American president. He will need to take account of the important lessons from past attempts, which are described and analyzed here in a gripping book by a renowned expert who served twice as U.S. ambassador to Israel and as Middle East adviser to President Clinton. Martin Indyk draws on his many years of intense involvement in the region to provide the inside story of the last time the United States employed sustained diplomacy to end the Arab-Israeli conflict and change the behavior of rogue regimes in Iraq and Iran. Innocent Abroad is an insightful history and a poignant memoir. Indyk provides a fascinating examination of the ironic consequences when American naïveté meets Middle Eastern cynicism in the region's political bazaars. He dissects the very different strategies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to explain why they both faced such difficulties remaking the Middle East in their images of a more peaceful or democratic place. He provides new details of the breakdown of the Arab-Israeli peace talks at Camp David, of the CIA's failure to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and of Clinton's attempts to negotiate with Iran's president. Indyk takes us inside the Oval Office, the Situation Room, the palaces of Arab potentates, and the offices of Israeli prime ministers. He draws intimate portraits of the American, Israeli, and Arab leaders he worked with, including Israel's Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, and Ariel Sharon; the PLO's Yasser Arafat; Egypt's Hosni Mubarak; and Syria's Hafez al-Asad. He describes in vivid detail high-level meetings, demonstrating how difficult it is for American presidents to understand the motives and intentions of Middle Eastern leaders and how easy it is for them to miss those rare moments when these leaders are willing to act in ways that can produce breakthroughs to peace. Innocent Abroad is an extraordinarily candid and enthralling account, crucially important in grasping the obstacles that have confounded the efforts of recent presidents. As a new administration takes power, this experienced diplomat distills the lessons of past failures to chart a new way forward that will be required reading.
The forty-fourth U.S. president will face a series of critical, complex, and interrelated challenges in the Middle East that will demand immediate attention. George W. Bush's model of regime change and democratization will no longer suit the changing circumstances likely to confront the next administration. Fresh ideas, nonpartisan analysis, and clear-eyed recommendations are needed, and this authoritative book heeds the call.
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