In This Review

Egypt’s Diplomacy in War, Peace, and Transition
Egypt’s Diplomacy in War, Peace, and Transition
By Nabil Fahmy
Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, 377 pp.

Fahmy, who has served as the Egyptian ambassador to the United States, Egypt’s foreign minister, and dean of the public policy school at the American University in Cairo, has furnished readers with an excellent mixture of memoir and analysis. Fahmy, whose father resigned his post as Egypt’s foreign minister to protest Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat’s 1977 visit to Jerusalem, adds valuable perspective to the sometimes cacophonous debates about Israel’s relations with its neighbors, the American role in the Middle East, and the vicissitudes of inter-Arab politics. A deeply proud Egyptian, Fahmy is nonetheless candid and self-critical—unusually so for a career diplomat. Although he may not convince his readers at every turn, his book is filled with revealing and thought-provoking insights into people and events as disparate as the “catastrophic” U.S. policy in post-invasion Iraq and the “overwhelmed” military brass who ruled Egypt after the uprising of 2011. And most readers will also come away wishing there were more imaginative and independent minds like Fahmy’s in diplomatic service everywhere today.