Frank Wisner discusses the future challenges of American foreign policy in the Middle East with regards to conflicts in Israel and Palestine, Iran, and Iraq as a part of a morning lecture series called American Foreign Policy: Leadership and Dialogue.
Ambassador Dennis Ross
Dennis B. Ross is an American author and political figure who served as the director for policy planning in the State Department under President George H.W. Bush and special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton.
The envoy and chief negotiator under both Republican and Democratic presidents, Ross was integral in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process during his tenure.
For more than twelve years, Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and in dealing directly with the negotiations. A skilled diplomat, Ross was responsible in both the G.H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations for exploring all avenues and approaches to settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As an architect of the peace process, he helped the Israelis and Palestinians in reaching the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and brokered the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron in 1997. He facilitated the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace and also worked on talks between Israel and Syria.
Ross's memoir, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace tells the inside story of efforts to negotiate peace over the 1990s and outlines the key lessons to be drawn from that experience.
While having worked under both Republican and Democratic administrations, Ross himself is a Democrat. He remains a frequent commentator on Middle East issues and analyst on the outcome of current events. He is now counselor of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Ambassador Frank G. Wisner is vice chairman of External Affairs at American International Group (AIG). A career diplomat, he held the personal rank of career ambassador, the highest grade in the U.S. Foreign Service.
From 1994-1997, Mr. Wisner served as ambassador to India. Before New Delhi, his most recent assignment was as under secretary of defense for policy (1993-1994) and under secretary of state for International Security Affairs (1992-1993).
Mr. Wisner represented the United States in the Philippines as ambassador from 1991-1992 and served as ambassador to Egypt from 1986-1991. Mr. Wisner was senior deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs from 1982-1986, a period of intense diplomatic engagement in Southern Africa at a time of conflict in Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia and in the history of the end of apartheid in South Africa. He served as ambassador to Zambia from 1979-1982.
Currently, Ambassador Wisner is on a number of international boards, including the U.S.-India Business Council. He is a vice chairman of the U.S.-Bangladesh Council and the Business Council on International Understanding. His other nonprofit board affiliations include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, American University of Beirut, American University of Cairo, American School of Tangiers, Refugees' International, and Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.
AIG vice chairman and career diplomat Frank Wisner explains the importance of looking to Iran's history and current political situation in order to see the situation from the country's point of view and understand its actions.
Ambassador Frank Wisner states that in the Middle East, "peace is possible, but it's hard" and discusses the issues standing in the way of peace that make it so difficult. He also begins to explore ways in which the issues might be resolved.
Ambassador Frank Wisner lists seven conditions for peace to reign between the Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs. He also discusses the role the United States will have to play in the process of reaching the conditions.