Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

By William B. Quandt
University of California Press, 1993
480 pp. $39.95
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This book builds on Quandt's well-regarded Decade of Decisions (1977), which covered the years 1967-76, extending the story through 1992. It is, however, much more than an updating of the earlier book. Coverage of the Six Day War period is greatly enriched by research on materials now available, and treatment of the later period deftly incorporates into a coherent whole the findings of other studies by Quandt. The result is a major work, whether judged by the standards of classical diplomatic history (with careful narrative treatment) or modern political science (emphasizing structure and system). The author is especially successful in blending the experience of an insider (he served on the National Security Council during much of the 1970s) with the above-the-fray perspective of the scholarly outsider. Without a trace of an apologia or polemic, Quandt reconstructs the attitudes and actions of American officialdom wrestling with the Arab-Israeli confrontation. His findings are sobering at best. The U.S. political system leaves little scope for bold breakthroughs, or perhaps better, consistent follow-through. Even the real differences in approach from Presidents Johnson to Bush have not produced systemic change. It is more process than peace.