Friday, December 17, 2010
It just occurred to me. . .
. . . how shocked Richard Holbrooke must have been when he discovered he was no longer among the living. One minute he was in a important meeting with the United States Secretary of State, discussing matters in which he had been deeply and completely involved. What must have seemed like minutes later, he was heading toward that "loving, white light." Holbrooke was an incredibly smart, capable diplomat who was completely devoted to his country and his mission. He was strong-willed and opinionated; characteristics that often rubbed people the wrong way. Nevertheless, he earned hard-won respect from colleagues and adversaries alike for his efforts to stop the carnage in Eastern Europe and more recently in the Middle East. There is much speculation about the short term and long term effects his loss will make on U.S. foreign relations. His inherent knowledge of human nature and the idiosyncrasies of world politics will be hard to replicate. Sure, there are capable men and women out there who are willing and able to step-in, but Holbrooke was one-of-a-kind; a legend in his own time. The personal loss for his family and friends is, naturally, enormous. The impact of his loss on world politics and peace will reveal itself soon enough. Perhaps the suddenness of his death will make others think twice before stepping back into full-on-war-mode. I hope his dogged determination to protect life and to secure and maintain peace will inspire others long after his funeral tomorrow. Rest In Peace, Richard.