Yesterday the acting spokesperson for the State Department emphatically stated what Dennis Ross will not be doing:
Let me be clear, he’s not an envoy. He will not be negotiating. He’ll be working on regional issues. He will not be – in terms of negotiating, will not be involved in the peace process. But again, he is going to be advising the Secretary on long-term strategic issues across the region.
…Mr. Ross will be charged with: trying to integrate policy development and implementation across a number of offices and officials in the State Department. And, you know, he is going to be providing the Secretary with strategic advice.
This seems like quite a demotion for a man who ran the Peace Process for President Clinton and headed Policy Planning, the influential in-house think tank at the State Department. The spokesperson’s words seem too strong to have been a slip-up, and so we are left to wonder: how did Secretary Clinton convince Mr. Ross to join her department in such a seemingly inconsequential capacity?