How Henry Kissinger mastered discreet diplomacy in the Middle East

Judy Woodruff:

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was a central figure in the Israeli-era peace negotiations under the Nixon and Ford administrations.

The new book, The Game Master: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy, explores the challenges and strategies behind the scenes.

Earlier, I spoke with the author and former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.

Martin Indyk, welcome to News Hour. It’s very good that you are with us. Congratulations on your book.

Let me ask you what you have written here. We know Henry Kissinger, a hugely influential figure in American foreign policy, and yet he was absent from power for over 45 years. And people think about it, many people think, in connection with China, Vietnam.

But you decided to focus on the Middle East. Why?

Martin Indyck, author of The Game Master: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy: Well, for two reasons, Judy.

And thank you very much for accepting me.

First, Kissinger’s time as secretary of state, his four years as secretary of state, was largely spent on peacekeeping in the Middle East. And this is not always understood.

But the second reason was personal. You know that I was involved in peacekeeping in both the Clinton administration and the Obama administration. And in the Clinton administration, it all exploded in our faces. And in the Obama administration, when I was the special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian talks, it failed again.

In fact, at the end of the negotiations, the parties diverged further than at the beginning. And these were the last negotiations that were conducted.

So I wanted to go back and try to learn from the master of the game what the book is called, how to make peace and how not to make peace, because he was so successful in laying the foundations for the Arab world. Israeli peace process of the 1970s.


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