John Podesta on the Passing of Richard Holbrooke
SOURCE: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta
The United States has lost a great public servant.
Amb. Richard Holbrooke was a brilliant man who could have chosen any path for his life. But he decided to devote his immense skills to public service—a service that was dedicated to the objective of extending to those less fortunate than ourselves the great gift of peace enjoyed by Americans.
Among his many achievements, Holbrooke’s most remarkable accomplishment was the negotiation of the Dayton Accords, which brought an end to the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The fighting among Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks was the most savage slaughter to engulf Europe since the cessation of World War II. The end of that war saved countless lives and established the framework that in the 15 years since has brought stability and genuine economic growth to that fragile area. It was Holbrooke’s unwavering commitment and confidence that accepted no failure in reaching that agreement—nothing less could have stopped the killing.
Holbrooke was a diplomat who always honored the tremendous contributions and sacrifices for a more peaceful world made by the brave men and women in the U.S. armed forces. He stood by and with them through virtually all of the national security crises of his professional life.
It was therefore no surprise when President Barack Obama tapped Holbrooke to be his special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The potential for his ability to bring positive change to that complex conflict means America’s loss at his passing is now shared by Afghans and Pakistanis.
American diplomacy has suffered a great loss. Holbrooke was a great friend of mine, and we will miss him.
John Podesta is President and CEO of American Progress.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or email@example.com
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or email@example.com
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or email@example.com
Print: Beatriz Lopez (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.741.6255 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or email@example.com
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or email@example.com