Ambassador Dennis Ross is one author not to miss

ROBERT A. COHN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EMERITUS

If there is one author at the 2007 St. Louis Jewish Book Festival whose current and previous books should be required reading for every American interested in America’s role in foreign affairs and the prospects for peace in the war-torn Middle East, it is Dennis Ross, who will discuss his latest book Statecraft, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Ambassador Ross was the Chief Middle East peace negotiator in the presidential administrations of both George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and who is now a fellow at the prestigious and influential Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where one of his colleagues and fellow Middle East expert is St. Louis native David Makovsky.

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Ross published The Missing Peace a few years back, in which he provides essential information, fully documented about exactly what went on at the failed peace talks hosted in July 2000 at Camp David by then-President Bill Clinton, and attended by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the late and unlamented Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

In Statecraft, Ross broadens his horizons into a comprehensive look at the United States position in the international community, which has been considerably eroded because of the war in Iraq.

“How did it come to pass that, not so long after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon brought the free world to our side, U.S. foreign policy is in a shambles,” asks Ross, who gives the Bush Administration failing grades for failing to use the time-tested art of “statecraft” to advance American interests, depending instead on pre-emptive military action. Statecraft indeed includes military options which Ross feels must be kept in the mix, but also diplomatic and economic tools to advance our national interests.

In his clear and crisp style, Ross covers the entire gamut of international challenges facing the United States and the West, including Islamic terrorism since 9/11, the war in Iraq, the Middle East peace process, the rise of China, a more aggressive Russia and the growing threat of a nuclear Iran. Ross believes that it is absolutely essential that the next President of the United States has a foreign policy that combines realism, American ideals, and is “ambitious” in its approach to helping advance peace and reduce global tensions.

Of Statecraft, Robert B. Zoellick, former U.S. Trade Representative and Deputy Secretary of State says, Ross’s “new book offers both insightful modern history and a senior practitioner’s guidance on how to deploy America’s multifaceted influence to achieve the nation’s ends. Whether a scholar or simply someone struggling to understand America’s unique ability to shape world affairs, the reader will gain from his pointed and perceptive analysis.” Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says it more succinctly and to the point: “(Statecraft) is a brilliant book at just the right time.”

Indeed, Dennis Ross, having worked diligently on behalf of American interests under both Republican and Democratic administrations with considerable skill and much success, is uniquely qualified to provide an unbiased primer for the next president and his or her adminstration to pursue regaining the prestige, standing and influence befitting the world’s only superpower with a commitment to democratic ideals, economic prosperty and world peace.

Run, don’t walk to buy Statecraft and to hear Dennis Ross discuss it at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival.

Ambassador Dennis Ross, author of “Statecraft,” published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, will speak on Wed., Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Admission: $15 or free with festival series ticket.