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Although George W. Bush memorably declared, “I’m the decider,” as president he was remarkably indecisive when it came to U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His administration’s policymaking featured an ongoing clash between moderate realists and conservative hard-liners inspired by right-wing religious ideas and a vision of democracy as cure-all. Riven by these competing agendas, the Bush administration vacillated between recognizing the Palestinian right to self-determination and embracing Israeli leaders who often chose war over negotiations. Through the years, the administration erratically adopted and discarded successive approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The results of this irresolution included the stunning triumph of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections, Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, the 2008–2009 clash between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and, in the end, virtually no diplomatic progress toward lasting peace.
In Indecision Points, Daniel Zoughbie examines the major assumptions underpinning U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East during the Bush years. Was there one policy or two? Was the Bush administration truly serious about peace? In a compelling account, Zoughbie offers original insights into these and other important questions. Drawing on the auhtor’s own interviews with forty-five global leaders, including Condoleezza Rice, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Kofi Annan, Colin Powell, Tom DeLay, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Shlomo Ben Ami, and Salam Fayyad, Indecision Points provides the first comprehensive history of the Bush administration’s attempt to reshape political order in a “New Middle East.”
About the Author
Daniel E. Zoughbie is Sultan Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in International and Area Studies at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Previously, he was an International Security Program Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and a Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
—Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of the International Relations of the Middle East, London School of Economics, and author of The New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World
—Jeremy Pressman, associate professor of political science and director of Middle East studies, University of Connecticut, and author of Warring Friends: Alliance Restraint in International Politics
—Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations, University of Oxford, and author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
—James D. Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank and Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement
—Jeremy Pressman, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Middle East Studies, University of Connecticut, and author of Warring Friends: Alliance Restraint in International Politics