Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Middle East: Learning from the Past

The Middle East: Learning from the Past


The effort to bring peace to the Middle East has been an almost century long process. Legions of soldiers, politicians, and diplomats have attempted the political equivalent of transmuting dross into gold. They have failed; none more comprehensively than President Bill Clinton and his Middle East interlocutors. Despite personal energy, intelligence, and creativity, U.S. efforts failed. After a stretch of benign/malign neglect, Washington again is venturing into the swamp by sponsoring renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. There are learnable lessons from what has been (mis)managed in the past. The question remains whether the United States will take counsel from them.

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