From Sadat to Saddam: A Book Talk
Please join Ambassador Dunford for a virtual discussion on his new book From Sadat to Saddam. The book offers a fresh perspective on the politicization of the U.S. diplomatic corps and the militarization of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. This book begins with the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, continues through two Gulf wars, and ends with the U.S. withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in 2011. This firsthand account of thirty years in the diplomatic trenches of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East addresses the basic questions of how and why we find ourselves today in endless military conflict and argues that it is directly related to the decline in reliance on our diplomatic skills. From Sadat to Saddam offers an in-depth look by a career diplomat at how U.S. soft power has been allowed to atrophy. It chronicles three decades of dealing not just with foreign policy challenges and opportunities but also with the frustrations of working with bureaucrats and politicians who don’t understand the world and are unwilling to listen to those who do. The book makes clear that the decline of our diplomatic capability began well before the election of Donald Trump. It recommends that instead of trying to make soldiers into diplomats and diplomats into soldiers, we invest in a truly professional diplomatic service.
David J. Dunford served three years as the U.S. ambassador to Oman and served four years, including during the 1990–91 Gulf War, as the deputy ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is a member of the governing board of the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He has taught courses on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Middle East business environment at the University of Arizona and has consulted for both the government and the private sector on Middle East issues. He is the coauthor of Talking to Strangers: The Struggle to Rebuild Iraq’s Foreign Ministry. He divides his time between Tucson and Durango.
Zoom meeting link: Topic: Dunford Book talk
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