In the new Policy Review, Victor Hanson has a fine review of Dennis Ross' 800+ page memoir of his negotiations in the Middle East from 1988-2001. Like most good book review essays, Hanson uses his subject as a foil to make some good points:
The world is obsessed with the so-called occupied territories in Palestine, but not from any abstract principle of postbellum equity or worry over civilian deaths. Otherwise un resolutions, European subsidies, and American envoys would have been focused on occupied Tibet or Lebanon, or the killing of tens of thousands of innocents in Rwanda and Darfur. So Palestine is not so much a moral issue as a political lightning rod that involves Arab oil, Arab global terrorism, Arab fundamentalist violence in and beyond the Middle East, and Arab anti-Semitism that finds resonance in Europe. While Ross understands that the Middle East is critical to world peace, he never quite explains why this small strip of land should be — and thus never fully elucidates why diplomats like Jim Baker and Colin Powell essentially renounced the frenetic efforts of their predecessors as vain and counterproductive.