Ambassador Dennis Ross

DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR IN THE PRACTICE OF DIPLOMACY

Ambassador Dennis Ross is Counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.

A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ambassador Ross worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. Prior to his service as special Middle East coordinator under President Clinton, Ambassador Ross served as director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff in the first Bush administration. In that capacity, he played a prominent role in U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations, and the 1991 Gulf War coalition.

During the Reagan administration, he served as director of Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security Council staff and deputy director of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment. Ambassador Ross was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton, and Secretaries Baker and Albright presented him with the State Department's highest award.

View Ambassador Dennis Ross's Explore Georgetown Profile.

Publications

STATECRAFT: AND HOW TO RESTORE AMERICA'S STANDING IN THE WORLD

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2008)

In this wise and thought-provoking book, the renowned peace negotiator Dennis Ross shows that America’s current foreign policy problems stem from the Bush administration’s inability to use the tools of statecraft to advance our national interests.
 
Ross explains that in the globalized world—with its fluid borders, terrorist networks, and violent unrest—statecraft is more necessary than ever. In vivid chapters, he outlines how statecraft helped shape a new world order after 1989. He shows how the failure of statecraft in Iraq and throughout the Middle East has undercut the United States and makes clear that only statecraft can check the rise of China and the danger of a nuclear Iran. He draws on his expertise to reveal the art of successful negotiation. And he shows how the next president could resolve today’s problems and define a realistic, ambitious foreign policy.

THE MISSING PEACE: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE FIGHT FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE

Farrar, Staus and Giroux (2005)

The definitive and gripping account of the sometimes exhilarating, often tortured twists and turns in the Middle East peace process, viewed from the front row...

Dennis Ross, the chief Middle East peace negotiator in the presidential administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, recounts the peace process in detail from 1988 to the breakdown of talks in early 2001 that prompted the so-called second Intifada. It's all here: Camp David, Oslo, Geneva, Egypt, and other summits; the assassination of Yitzak Rabin; the rise and fall of Benjamin Netanyahu; the very different characters and strategies of Rabin, Yasir Arafat, and Bill Clinton; and the first steps of the Palestinian Authority.

Courses

INAF 321 History of Peacekeeping in the Middle East

This course will deal with the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the efforts to resolve it. One basic point to understand about the conflict is that it is not a morality play. One side is not all right and the other all wrong. That is not to say that they are equally responsible for what has happened, but it is to say that both have suffered and both would benefit enormously from ending the conflict and its animating grievances. 

We will explore why each side tends to see the world the way it does, and why mythologies have taken hold of all sides and made reality hard to grasp. We will examine narratives of the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the Arabs more generally. Mindsets must be understood in any negotiation, and we will look at what shaped each side’s approach to the conflict historically as well as its approach to conflict resolution over the periods of the most intensive diplomacy. We will analyze how close the efforts in the year 2000 came to ending the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and Israelis and Syrian, and will discuss what lessons must be learned from the past in order to shape a different future. 

We will also consider the American role as well as that of outside parties in trying to resolve the conflict. Ultimately, the purpose of the course is to provide insight into why it has been so difficult to settle this conflict, and what, if anything can be done to settle it in the future.

INAF 444 Statecraft and Negotiation

Statecraft and Negotiation: This seminar course will look at American foreign policy through the lens of statecraft. Statecraft involves the orchestration of all the instruments of power and influence to protect against threats and to promote broad national interests. Key elements of statecraft include developing strategy, defining objectives and purposes, identifying the means available for pursuing strategy and knowing how best to employ them. Because negotiations represent one policy tool that is central to nearly all forms of statecraft, the course will explore negotiations and mediation. It will look at the American approach to negotiations and also examine mediation as an instrument for settling or defusing local and sectarian conflicts.