Our Man by George Packer review — Richard Holbrooke, America’s pushy diplomat

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The papers of Richard C. Holbrooke mostly consist of transcripts of interviews conducted with Clark Clifford by Mr. Truman, his legal and professional career, and his role as unofficial adviser to Presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson. Size: Less than one linear foot about 1, pages.

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What the life of Richard Holbrooke tells us about the decay of Pax Americana. It began with the Second World War and the creative burst that followed—the United Nations, the Atlantic alliance, containment, the free world—and it went through dizzying lows and highs, until it expired the day before yesterday. The thing that brings on doom to great powers—is it simple hubris, or decadence and squander, a kind of inattention, loss of faith, or just the passage of years?

At some point that thing set in, and so we are talking about an age gone by. The best about us was inseparable from the worst. Our feeling that we could do anything gave us the Marshall Plan and Vietnam, the peace at Dayton and the endless Afghan War. He was our man. He served as a diplomat under every Democratic president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

But his egotism alienated superiors and colleagues, and he never reached his lifelong goal of becoming secretary of state. Not necessarily with force, but with the full weight of American influence. That was the Holbrooke doctrine, vindicated at Dayton, where he ended a war and brought an uneasy peace to Bosnia. The country owed its existence to the liberal internationalism of Pax Americana. It was very cold but there was not yet snow on the ground.

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It all began so promisingly. The State Department assigned him to the rural southern tip of Vietnam. In a region where the South Vietnamese army and its American advisers claimed to have eliminated the communist guerrillas, Holbrooke discovered the Viet Cong were actually pervasive and getting stronger. Observant, clever and energetic, Holbrooke was an early witness to the collective delusions driving the US war in Vietnam.

James Walton reviews Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer. In August , rather to his own.

Barack Obama. His experience there and in Washington, D. After serving as Peace Corps director in Morocco from to , he edited the quarterly magazine Foreign Policy — He returned to the government in when Pres. Jimmy Carter appointed him assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. From to Holbrooke was both vice president of Public Strategies, a Washington consulting firm, and senior adviser to the New York investment firm Lehman Brothers ; he then served as managing director of Lehman Brothers from until Holbrooke served in the administration of Pres.

George Packer Discusses His New Book About Richard Holbrooke

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Go to the current website for up-to-date information. and an extraordinary American diplomat, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

Please refresh the page and retry. That loss of confidence is the subject of this dazzling new book by the American journalist George Packer. In fact, the man himself often proves too compelling for Packer to stick assiduously to this plan. Holbrooke was born in New York in to Jewish refugees from Europe. His first posting was to Vietnam, where he arrived in , aged Before long, though, Holbrooke was having serious doubts about US strategy.

He knew the gung-ho reports of American success sent to Washington were a mixture of wishful thinking and straightforward lies.


Date November 4, Richard Holbrooke, the premier architect of the peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia and a skillful negotiator credited with resolving the bitter dispute over dues owed in arrears by the United States to the United Nations, has won the Great Negotiator Award. The former U.

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Richard Holbrooke was one of the most legendary and complicated figures in recent American history. Brilliant, utterly self-absorbed, and possessed of almost inhuman energy and appetites, he was both admired and detested. From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. He was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, America’s greatest diplomatic achievement in the post-Cold War era.

His power lay in an utter belief in himself and his idea of a muscular, generous foreign policy. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion ensured that he never rose to the highest levels in government that he so desperately coveted. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we’ll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required.

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Wikipedia Wikiquote. Name in native language, Richard Holbrooke. Date of birth, 24 April

Pakistan is “at the heart” of the search for peace and stability in southern Asia and the US is building up a much closer relationship with the country, Richard Holbrooke , the American special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, said today. In contrast to the Bush years, the Obama administration was developing what he called a strategic dialogue with Pakistan, working as closely together as possible, Holbrooke said.

Asked whether the US trusted Pakistan, he described the relationship as “very complicated” but “an indispensable one for Great Britain and the US”. Approaches to Pakistan by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai — an avenue to talks with the Taliban — have provoked a markedly lukewarm response from the US in the past. Holbrooke said there was now “much more co-operation” between Islamabad and Washington.

However, he declined to comment on the Haqqani network — a group within the insurgency based in North Waziristan, in the Afghan tribal belt — other than to say that it was responsible for attempts to bomb the Indian embassy in Kabul, the peace jirga, and a recent international conference there. He appeared to rule out any accommodation with the network. Holbrooke was in London after a visit to Afghanistan , Pakistan, and India. He had a breakfast meeting with General Sir David Richards, head of the army who has just been appointed chief of the defence staff, and Sir Peter Ricketts, the government’s national security adviser.

Remembering Richard Holbrooke

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