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21 Apr 22

As special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under President Obama in 2013, Martin Indyk saw Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly ignore or flat-out reject American entreaties; after nine months of negotiations, the disconnect was even greater. To gain a better understanding of America’s current place in Middle East peacemaking, Indyk looked to the origins of America’s efforts and to former secretary of state Henry Kissinger’s diplomacy in the region. In Master of the Game (Knopf, October 2021), Indyk offers a provocative history of Kissinger’s diplomatic Middle East talks, illuminating the challenges and barriers he and his successors faced—from U.S. efforts to end the Yom Kippur War to Kissinger’s peace negotiations that laid the groundwork for the next fifty years of American regional diplomacy, from the manipulation and counter-manipulation of a roster of larger-than-life characters—Anwar Sadat, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Hafez al-Assad—to archival records and reflections upon his own diplomatic experiences in the Middle East. In the end, Master of the Game makes clear that understanding Kissinger’s design for Middle East diplomacy offers a key how—and how not—to make peace.

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