Lost Years: Bush, Sharon, and Failure in the Middle East
George W. Bush first met Ariel Sharon in 1998 on a fact-finding trip to Israel when he was governor of Texas and contemplating a run for the White House. From the memorable helicopter tour he gave the future president on that visit until he was incapacitated by a stroke seven years later, Sharon tried to enlist Bush in his dual strategies of quelling a Palestinian uprising and fixing the Jewish state’s permanent borders.
Bush met him part way but had his own bold ideas: a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a Middle East where democracy replaced tyranny. Neither leader grasped the essential first step toward achieving his vision: a process of tedious negotiation and mutual compromise between Israel and its longtime enemies.
Lost Years describes how two risk-taking leaders worsened the Middle East situation by pursuing parallel preemptive wars that destabilized the region. Mark Matthews documents how a series of opportunities to stem the bitter conflict were allowed to lapse due to a combination of inattention, deliberate evasion, political pressure, and sheer blindness.
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