Dennis Ross
Counselor and Davidson Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson 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 a US point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He also served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. 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 a 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 US 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.


Ambassador Ross is the author of several influential books on the peace process, including Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East, coauthored with Institute peace process expert David Makovsky; The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace, which offers comprehensive analytical and personal insight into the Middle East peace process; and Statecraft, And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World, which the New York Times praised as “important and illuminating.” He is the author of Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama.



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DOOMED TO SUCCEEDThe U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Ross takes us through every administration from Truman to Obama, throwing into dramatic relief each president's attitudes 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.

STATECRAFTAnd How to Restore America's Standing in the World
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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.

The US-Israel Relationship Based in part on his book, Doomed to Suceed, Ambassador Ross discusses America's changing relationship with Israel and the role he played in shaping US policy toward the Middle East, and Israel specifically, for nearly thirty years.

International Security A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, he examines the most pressing issues facing Russia and the Middle East today.

The New York Times Book Review reviews Ross’s book, Doomed to Succeed

Ross sits down to talk about his work with NPR’s All Things Considered

Read an excerpt of Doomed to Succeed over at MSNBC

Dennis Ross continues to discuss and write on the Israel/Palestine conflict throughout the media, including NBC News (10/9/23), MSNBC The Beat with Ari (10/11/23), Foreign Affairs (10/11/23), TIME (10/15/23), The Atlantic (10/17/23), NPR’s All Things Considered and Consider This (10/19/23), and The Spectator’s Americano (10/24/23).

Dennis Ross, author of Doomed to Succeed, discussed the recent news on Israel-Palestine on NBC News (1/1/24) and NPR Morning Edition (1/2/24). He wrote a new essay on the limits of US influence over Israel for The Wall Street Journal (12/28/23).

"Ambassador Dennis Ross has a wealth of information about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the various peace negotiations which have taken place over the past three decades, all of which he presented, without notes, lucidly and eloquently. His presentation was learned, informative and insightful. He is an engaging speaker, and our standing room only audience was completely enthralled by him."
-Peninsula Jewish Community Center

"On behalf of the leadership of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and the co-chairs of the Book Festival, please accept our most sincere thanks for what was certainly one of our best programs in recent memory. We have received only the most positive feedback from our audience about your incredible depth of knowledge on the Middle East, European politics and its state of affairs, and your involvement with the past four presidential administrations. Your ability to articulate subjects that are often complicated to understand is truly a gift to our community."
-Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta

“Dennis Ross exceeds expectations as a keynote speaker. He is the rare talent who engages audience members as much with his poise as with his deep memory of the political landscapes in which he has served so many vital roles. This was not Ross’s first appearance in St. Louis, nor will it be the last; he is sought after and celebrated by our community.”
-St. Louis Jewish Book Festival

Praise for Doomed to Succeed:

“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, Christian Science Monitor

“Throughout this illuminating book, [Dennis Ross] writes clearly and elucidates the complexities of not only the U.S.-Israel relationship, but of the larger Middle Eastern picture. He comes neither to bury nor praise the administrations in which he has worked or those in which he did not; as a consequence, readers will benefit from a front-row vantage point without encountering a myopic perspective. Ross provides a learned, wise template for understanding the long-term relationship between two countries tethered to one another out of shared self-interest and geopolitical necessity and yet with sometimes-conflicting senses of the way forward.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Ross deftly explores the contingencies of this history, which hinged on personality clashes, the chaos of events, and the personal attitudes held by presidents, while stressing broader themes . . . . Ross's fluently written account includes colorful firsthand recollections of crises and diplomatic wranglings. Readers of all political persuasions will enjoy this fresh, contrarian analysis of America's Middle East policy.”
Publishers Weekly

“Few people have been more involved with the U.S.-Israel relationship and the broader Middle East than Dennis Ross. In his new book he provides both a remarkable history and an insider's explanation of what has driven our policy towards Israel and the region. In the process, he tells a fascinating story not only about how the relationship evolved over time, but also about the assumptions that continue to shape our views of the region and the lessons we need to draw from this. For anyone who cares about U.S.-Israeli ties, this is a must read.”
—Madeleine K. Albright, 64th U.S. Secretary of State

“For almost forty years, Dennis Ross has been an inside player and close observer of Israeli-U.S. relations. In this smart and provocative book, he provides an insightful look at the policies toward Israel pursued from the Truman Administration to the present and how that has affected America's relationships in the Middle East. It's not only great history but a guide for the future.”
—Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

“Dennis Ross has written what might be the definitive book on one of the most complicated, emotionally fraught and strategically consequential relationships between two states in the world today. No one is better positioned than Ross to explore the contours of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and he does so lucidly, with nuance, analytical sophistication, a cool eye, and great authority. Doomed to Succeed will be mandatory reading for anyone concerned about the future of Israel, and about America's role in the world.”
—Jeffrey Goldberg, author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror