"A rare book of diplomatic history that is suspenseful and dramatic. Indyk puts you inside the White House and leads you through the highs and lows of the Arab-Israeli peace process. Studded with sharp insights about people and places, this is a book to savor and also learn from. Anyone interested in the Middle East or how foreign policy actually works should read this fascinating tale." Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and author of The Post-American World
"The ultimate inside account of the machinations of the modern Middle East. Indyk has lived this story now for several decades, and he provides the most vivid cameos and snapshots of the personalities of the region since Henry Kissinger's memoir of his 'shuttle diplomacy' years. Indyk is honest and self-critical about his own mistakes and those of his former bosses. That's the most hopeful aspect of this remarkable memoir that we can actually learn from our errors. I devoured this book. As with a good novel, the story grabs hold of you and doesn't let go." David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Body of Lies
"Few diplomats have been as closely involved with the attempts to broker a peace treaty in the Middle East as Martin Indyk. His knowledge, experience, and candor make Innocent Abroad a fascinating book." Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. secretary of state
"Combines an intimate memoir with a fascinating account of the roller-coaster ride that is the quest for peace between Israel and its neighbors. Vivid, sharply drawn portraits of all the players both heartbreaking and hopeful, this book should be in every negotiator's briefcase." Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and chief negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords
"Timely and valuable.... Following Indyk's advice would be a good place to start." The New York Times Book Review
"Excellent.... Nuanced." Newsweek
"Incisive." Thomas Friedman, The New York Times (column of 1/7/09)
"Part memoir, part political analysis, elegantly written, and hard to put down." The New York Review of Books
"For practitioners of Middle East diplomacy, this book is essential." The Washington Times
"A vivid insider's account....Required reading for the next president." Kirkus Reviews
With Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East, Martin Indyk has written a timely and valuable history of his years as one of the Clinton administration's top Middle East specialists…No one expects Washington to be strictly neutral between Israel and the Arabs, but it must again be perceived as reasonable and balanced in its expectations and demands. Following Indyk's advice in Innocent Abroad would be a good place to start.
The New York Times
This is a lessons-learned book, complete with sober, uninspiring advice for the next administration: lowered sights, more realism, less naivete.
The Washington Post
Missteps and missed opportunities proliferate in this gripping insider history of Middle Eastern diplomacy during the Clinton administration. Indyk, former ambassador to Israel, examines the contradictions inherent in Clinton's Iraq policy with a remarkable level of self-criticism and brings a nuanced perspective to his analysis of Iraq's alleged WMD programs and the reasons for and against war. The book emphasizes Clinton's initial strategic focus on Syrian-Israeli relations, and the author's discussion of Syria runs parallel to his central narrative about the Israel-Palestine conflict, which traces the tumultuous eight years from the hopeful handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993 through the beginning of the second intifada. The author achieves an impressive balance of scale, packing a tremendous amount of anecdotal information throughout, creating a portrait of diplomacy that reveals the influence of countless small details, from ceremonial gifts to friendly kisses, on world affairs. At the same time, the book surveys the enduring challenges that plagued the Clinton team's efforts to bring peace to the region, making insightful connections between the history in which the author participated and the present state of the region. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In the 1990s, as ambassador to Israel and a central player on President Clinton's diplomatic team, Indyk, a Middle East expert and scholar, played a key role in American efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His memoir focuses on these years and recounts in detail the series of negotiations that in 1993 and 1995 came close to reaching a settlement, until the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 destroyed momentum and confidence. Further negotiations took place, but President Clinton's investment of time and political influence failed to achieve peace. Instead, violence reignited in the second intifada, and mistrust and recriminations replaced diplomatic outreach. Indyk presents a rich analysis of the intricate, multisided negotiations and clearly demonstrates that relations with other Middle Eastern states, including Iran and Iraq, were affected by the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. He contrasts Clinton's focused commitment with George W. Bush's reluctance to build on the work of his predecessor and Bush's ultimate preference for war. Through his title, Indyk suggests that American idealism, linked with a troubling naïveté, inspired both of the above approaches to remaking the Middle East. Highly recommended for both academic and general libraries.
Elizabeth R. Hayford
A vivid insider's account of the Clinton administration's Middle East statecraft. Where Patrick Tyler's excellent A World of Trouble (2008) spreads over six decades, Indyk drills down, focusing on a single administration's Middle East diplomacy. From his positions as National Security Council member and two-time ambassador to Israel, Indyk closely observed the personalities and myriad political considerations that drove Middle East policymaking from 1992 to 2000. His in-the-room recollections of major players like Syria's Asad, Jordan's King Hussein, Egypt's Mubarak and PLO Chairman Arafat, as well as Israeli leaders Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu, Barak and Sharon add color and dimension to his meticulous reconstruction of the intricacies of high-level diplomacy. Clinton set out to leave well enough alone in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to enforce a "dual containment" of Iraq and Iran and to broker an Arab-Israeli peace, first by achieving a breakthrough with Syria. Though he enjoyed some successes (an unexpected peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, for example) the strategy for the most part unraveled. Indyk hints at Clinton's lack of unwavering principle and political discipline, but he attributes the diplomatic failure largely to the resistance of Arab leaders to change, Israeli political rivalries, Palestinian dysfunctionalism and periodic outbursts of violence and terror that sabotaged any chance for peace. Nevertheless, the author also squarely blames American ignorance, naivete and idealism, examples of which abound here, all comically summarized by a botched instance of presidential gift-giving to Jordan's king and queen. Sympathetic to the earnest efforts of his foreign-policycolleagues-Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger, Anthony Lake, Dennis Ross and Strobe Talbott-Indyk reserves his scorn for the succeeding Bush administration's abandonment of the excruciatingly difficult peace process he so memorably describes. An important cautionary tale-required reading for the next president. Agent: Gloria Loomis/Watkins Loomis