After watching the documentary THE DIPLOMAT, which tells the unique story of the life and legacy of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, whose singular career spanned fifty years of American foreign policy – from Vietnam to Afghanistan, I had to make an article. richard holbrooke remarkable diplomat
A jerk and talented diplomat (Washington Post). The last freewheeling diplomat (New York Times). He was all of it and made the world a better place.
Ambassador Holbrooke was one of his generation’s best and brightest. He has served his country with distinction and honesty, whether as a young State Department officer in Vietnam or as Ambassador to Germany and the United Nations. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Holbrooke set out to achieve lasting peace.
The documentary and the book “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century” was a fascinating study of both the man and the loss of American dominance from Vietnam to Afghanistan. We see the follies and unforced blunders that have plagued American foreign policy for the last four decades in the figure of Richard Holbrooke. We also get to see certain victories, such as Holbrooke’s excellent work in negotiating the Dayton Accords, which put an end to the Balkan wars in 1995.
By all accounts, Holbrooke was a larger-than-life person. This was both a source of strength and a source of vulnerability for him. Only someone like Holbrooke could have persuaded Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to sign the Dayton Accords, given his tangle of skill and ambition. Nonetheless, his blatant ambition hindered him from achieving his lifetime aim of becoming Secretary of State.
Overworking himself to the point of exhaustion, Holbrooke felt that the lessons taught in Vietnam would help him avoid repeating the Vietnam experience in Afghanistan. They did not. Others on the team disregarded Vietnam’s relevance to the current situation and chastised Holbrooke for bringing it up so frequently, daring to remind that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was re-elected. However, significant voting fraud didn’t assist his case either. Despite this, Holbrooke continued to offer directions even as he was carried into emergency surgery. He was the leading man in this drama, and he planned to leave on a high note.
“Diplomacy is like jazz: endless variations on a theme.”
– Richard Holbrooke
Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke was an American diplomat and author, born on April 24, 1941. He was the first and only person to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for two separate areas of the world (Asia from 1977 to 1981 and Europe from 1994 to 1996). Ambassador Holbrooke died on December 13, 2010. richard holbrooke remarkable diplomat