Jonathan Alter: Holbrooke: An American in Full

Roundup: Media's Take

[Jonathan Alter is columnist for Newsweek and author of "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope."]

The tributes to Richard Holbrooke now pouring in are out of proportion to the various positions he held over the years as an assistant secretary and ambassador. They are more befitting a cabinet officer or even head of state than a special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, arguably the most grueling and thankless job in the whole government.

And yet Holbrooke belongs to a tiny group of diplomats—men like George Kennan and Chip Bohlen—who shaped their times without ever achieving cabinet rank.

With the WikiLeaks revelations casting a harsh light on the work of diplomats, Holbrooke’s career is a useful reminder that we depend on indefatigable men and women working killer hours with killer travel to keep us all from getting killed by war or terrorism....

comments powered by Disqus