The Corner


Richard Holbrooke was a throwback to the days of Harry Truman, when there was an idea that Democratic diplomats were at the forefront of advancing American interests in no-nonsense and unambiguous terms. Sometimes such directness was critical, cutting right through the Balkan labyrinth and thus leading to a cessation of violence; at other times, as in the morass of Afghanistan, the Holbrookian record is less clear. He clearly represented a wing of the Democratic party that used to be its mainstream: his unabashed and idealistic confidence in the utility of American power, and his faith that his sometimes flawed nation was far better than the alternative and did not have to be perfect to be quite good. One does not see too many like him left among contemporary Democratic grand diplomats, and I think that is a pity.


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