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Doomed to Succeed

The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama

Dennis Ross

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Doomed to Succeed Download image

ISBN10: 0374536449
ISBN13: 9780374536442

Trade Paperback

512 Pages



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Winner of the National Jewish Book Award's Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award in History

When it comes to Israel, U.S. policy has, for some time, emphasized the unbreakable bond between the two countries and our ironclad commitment to Israel's security. Today our ties to Israel are close—so close that when there are differences, they tend to make the news. But it was not always this way.

Dennis Ross has been a direct participant in shaping U.S. policy toward the Middle East, and Israel specifically, for nearly thirty years. He served in senior roles, including as Bill Clinton's envoy for Arab-Israeli peace, and was an active player in the debates over how Israel fit into the region and what should guide our policies. InDoomed to Succeed, he takes us through every administration from Truman's to Obama's, throwing into dramatic relief each president's attitude toward Israel and the region, the often tumultuous debates between key advisers, and the events that drove the policies and at times led to a shift in approach.

Ross points out how distancing the United States from Israel in the Eisenhower, Nixon, first Bush, and Obama administrations never yielded any benefits and explains why that lesson has never been learned. Doomed to Succeed offers compelling advice about how the priorities of Arab leaders can be understood and how future administrations might best shape U.S. policy in that light.


Praise for Doomed to Succeed

"Ross’s authoritative recounting of the long and complicated dance between American presidents and their Israeli counterparts is worth studying simply as a reminder that every current crisis has an antecedent."—Jeffery Goldberg, The Atlantic

“Dennis Ross and ‘Middle East Peace Process’ are nearly synonymous . . . In Doomed to Succeed, the Washington hand brings his account up to date by covering the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations and looking at U.S.-Israel relations from Truman on . . . Mr. Ross’s treatment of each administration is necessarily brief but useful for that very reason: It’s hard to think of a college course on this subject that would not assign this book as a text.”—Elliot Abrams, The Wall Street Journal

“In this well researched history Ross meticulously chronicles the bumpy ride that the two nations have taken together . . . This book is both thoughtful and largely even-handed. It also provides an important eyewitness account of the history it analyses.”—David Holahan, The Christian Science Monitor

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



Today, the relationship between the United States and Israel is extolled by American presidents. We take it for granted that presidents will stress their commitment to...

About the author

Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross, Middle East envoy for George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, is now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Foreign Affairs called his first book, The Missing Peace, “a major contribution to the diplomatic history of the twentieth century.” His other books include Statecraft and Doomed to Succeed.

Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross's faculty profile at Georgetown University

Dennis Ross's profile at the Washington Institute