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Statecraft: And How to Restore America's Standing in the World Paperback – Bargain Price, June 24, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ross, the Clinton administration's Middle East envoy (The Missing Peace) makes the seemingly dreary, opaque processes of international diplomacy as coherent, absorbing and occasionally dramatic as a procedural thriller. He conceives of statecraft as a subtle orchestration of foreign policy "assets," including intelligence and analysis, diplomacy, sanctions, economic aid and military pressure. Most of all, it requires negotiations: the book's middle section is a lengthy tutorial on the nuts and bolts of epic negotiating, Ross's forte, complete with tips on how and when to stage angry outbursts at the conference table. The author illustrates with case studies of foreign policy triumphs and disasters (many of which he had a hand in), from German reunification to the war in Iraq. The book is an avowedly "neo-liberal" rebuke of Bush's unilateralist, "faith-based" foreign policy blundering. Indeed, with its call for virtuoso state craftsmanship and its detailed proposals on everything from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or Iranian nuclear ambitions to relations with China, it could well be Ross's application for the 2009 secretary of state opening. If so, it's an impressive one, full of canny, judicious insights into the making of foreign policy. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ross was the U.S. chief Middle East envoy in the Bush I and Clinton administrations, an experience he chronicled in The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace(2004). His latest book examines more broadly the practice of strategic diplomacy, the pragmatic exercise of which he considers absolutely crucial for global security in the twenty-first century. Adopting a pedagogical tone, Ross uses case studies (including the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations) to illustrate statecraft in practice. His chapters on negotiation and mediation likewise blend description of what has worked in the past with instructional advice on how to wield the tools of the trade effectively. ("Employ the good cop-bad cop approach carefully," for example.) Ross also profitably invokes the foreign policy of the Bush II administration as an antimodel. A cogent call for a return to what Francis Fukuyama has called "realistic Wilsonianism," this account is apparently aimed at the foreign-policy professionals of the future and those who might appoint them. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374531196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374531195
  • ASIN: B004KAB7XK
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,026,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. A Magill VINE VOICE on August 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
From the mind of a man who assuredly counts among America's most thoughtful and experienced diplomats comes this timely important work on the subject of statecraft, an area much neglected in this administration in favor of what Ross calls "faith based diplomacy." While Ross has policy inclinations of his own, having thought long and hard on these topics and written on them widely both in his last book on the failed Oslo process and his column in the New Republic, his goal here is not to urge a particular goal but a process to the world of international relations. Like an academic, Ross moves through his topic, first defining statecraft, then elucidating his views on proper methodology.

For Ross, statecraft consists of reality based analysis which in turn leads policy makers to achievable end and plans to marshal the resources to achieve those ends. Not surprisingly he castigates the Bush administration, not merely for their eschewing of thoughtful analysis - As Stephen Colbert cleverly observed to President Bush "facts have a liberal bias" - but likewise for their failure to assemble the resources required to achieve their stated ends. In a perfect case he points to the Iraq War, arguing that even if the administration had been correct in their every prediction they still failed to bring enough forces to bear to secure the 900 sites they identified as related to weapons of mass destruction and the boarders to prevent from those weapons, had they existed, from slipping into Syria, Iran, or elsewhere. From Iraq to China, Ross offers examples of what he would imagine as the appropriate statecraft approaches to challenges on the world state.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dennis Ross' book on statecraft provides an insightful look into the world of diplomacy and negotiation, which are the two prime ingredients, the author claims, of statecraft. But the book is more than just a theoretical discussion: Ross combines his considerable real-world experience gained through his tenure in multiple administrations to move the discourse into the hard realities of the world as it actually exists, not just paper abstracts. And therein perhaps lays the greatest strength of this book. Yes, the book is a polemic of sorts, but there are probably not too many who would argue with the central premise of this book, that the U.S. has lost standing in the world, finds itself in a series of extremely difficult situations (perhaps mostly of our own making), and is now faced with a new structure of emerging and re-aligned world powers that require meaningful engagement if we are to restore the country to its former standing.

Not all will agree with Ross' political discourse in this book. Nevertheless, that should be no reason to either overlook the treasure trove of experiences which he brings to the table, nor neglect the impressive insight he shares on both past and present political dilemmas. There are commonalities he feels apply to all these situations (we are given twelve rules of negotiation, and eleven rules of mediation, for example), but there is great value in working through the individual, unique examples he provides as historical case studies in which statecraft was both successfully and unsuccessfully practiced. There can be little doubt that any person (or administration) wishing to improve its own negotiating and mediating prowess could learn from this series of important discourses.
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Format: Hardcover
I received my copy of Statecraft yesterday afternoon from Amazon and haven't been able to put it down ever since. This is the most thoughtful and useful foreign policy book that's been written in decades.

Statecraft is a "must read" for anyone who's serious about American foreign policy. Dennis Ross does a brilliant job delineating a realistic prescription for a strong and effective American foreign policy for the 21st Century that is necessary to deal with our real enemies while reversing the enormous mistakes of the past seven years.

Ross, who was a top aide to Daddy Bush, Jim Baker and Bill Clinton, demonstrates an extraordinary grasp of how America can once again lead the world as we did during the days of FDR, Harry Truman, JFK and Woodrow Wilson. Every 2008 presidential candidate should read and ABSORB this book.

Ross demonstrates an amazing in-depth understanding of all regions of the world--Europe, China, Iran, the Baltics, and of course, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. The book provides a sophisticated definition of statecraft and how essential that capability will be for the United States to once again emerge as the world's most respected foreign policy leader. Although Ross clearly can handle any foreign policy situation, we are fortunate that he is probably the most knowledgeable and effective person on the planet in regards to the Middle East--BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE MOST OF OUR CURRENT AND FUTURE THREATS EMANATE FROM.

What makes Ross (and Statecraft) so unique is that this guy not only has an amazing understanding of foreign policy issues, but he is also a very effective practitioner.
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