Richard Holbrooke rubs me the wrong way. I imagine he does a lot of folks. Holbrooke cut his imperial teeth in Vietnam where for six years he worked on things like the Rural Pacification Program and became an expert on, well, just about everything. Being best buds with Dean Rusk’s boy did not help to get the job we are sure. After Vietnam he went to Morocco where he ran the CIA’s Trojan Horse, um, Peace Corps and went on to be Carter’s campaign guru on foreign affairs. Carter duly escalated the Cold War, including support for the mujahedeen in Afghanistan and right-wing death squads in Central America. The eighties saw him develop the business interests that his “public service” afforded him access to.
Anyone who remembers the Balkan Wars of the 1990’s knows that Holbrooke has a special hatred of the Slav, at least Slavs writing in Cyrillic. You can take the warrior out of the Cold War out of the Cold War warrior, but you can’t take the Cold War out of the or something…The Germans’ apparently really appreciated his role in making the Balkans safe for investment, or democracy depending on the dinner party, and awarded him their highest civilian honor. His qualification for being Ambassador and Envoy has been that he is the most arrogant person in whatever room he is in and therefore the most willing to give advice. His voice sealed the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the Bosnian war. Slobo would have signed anything to get out of another day of listening to a Holbrooke lecture.
In or out of government it matters not; Holbrooke butters his bread on both sides. The Bush years saw Dick, as his friends and enemies call him, wallowing in Wall Street where he worked with such sterling outfits as AIG (where he was on the board of directors all the way up until the late summer of 2008 and the ship ran aground), Lehman Brothers (where he was a full time managing director) and Perseus LLC. He made many millions and has his interests everywhere. He’s a player in the big leagues. Among his many titles was CEO of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the idea of which makes me feel sick.
He was Ambassador to the United nations in the late 1990’s and Special Envoy to this and that since then. Now he is again a special envoy this time for Af-Pak as the State Department calls it. His liberal imperialism is on full display when railing against islamo-fascism. Holbrooke is essentially a Cold Warrior and an American exceptionalist. That’s so Twentieth Century.
Now we hear that the venal Karzai has run afoul of the United States and Holbrooke gave a blistering lecture to the dapper dude after the fraud that was the elections last week. It appears that the new comprador for the US may be Abdullah Abdullah. He has the quality of being even more venal than Karzai, Holbrooke likes his Quislings craven after all. Though Abdullah’s propensity for wearing an ascot makes me question his potential longevity; political and physical.
Listening to a Holbrooke tirade may be the most unpleasant thing to go through other than waterboarding at Bagram. I can barely stand the sound of his arrogant voice over the airwaves and I’m a white guy from the US. Imagine being in the same room with him and having the misfortune of not being a paid up member of Western Civilization!
Did you know that Richard Holbrooke, who since the election of Obama plays the role of The Great White Father, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize seven times? Well if Kissinger, Begin and Trimble can get it… There are just so many reasons for Richard Holbrooke to win the Rustbelt’s Asshole of the Day that we’ll have to move things around to clear the whole of the month. Richard Holbrooke, August has 31 days and you’ve earned every one.