Præsident Obamas særlige udsending til Afghanistan og Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, døde i mandags. Holbrooke stod for en aktiv amerikansk udenrigspolitik, og det var i høj grad hans fortjeneste, at USA greb ind og fik stoppet krigen i Bosnien i 1995. Mange af de mindeord, som de amerikanske medier har bragt, fortjener at blive gengivet her:
The obituaries are filled with words not always associated with eulogies: brash, aggressive, unyielding, exhausting. But put those together with effective, pragmatic, purpose-driven, indefatigable and idealistic, and they’re redolent of our national character. Not the Ugly American, and certainly not the Quiet American, but the Can-Do, Must-Do, Get-the-Hell-Out-of-My-Way American.
American patriotism and American liberalism were still tethered together as Holbrooke made his way. There may have been hubris in that outlook. Our country would be bloodied in distant places, it would learn that the world wouldn’t always bend to our will. But the lodestar remained that essential belief that American power could be a force for the good in the world beyond our shores.
No American has tried as hard to ease the fears, apprehensions, doubts, conspiracy theories and ill-informed views of Pakistanis toward the U.S. as has Richard Holbrooke. His death is a tragedy for American diplomacy – but much more so for Pakistan, because whether you liked him or disliked him, there is no denying that in the last two years, he constantly battled for Pakistan.
The image of Holbrooke wading through floodwater, distributing relief goods to this year’s 20 million flood victims – not once but repeatedly at the ripe age of 69 – is an indelible one, that our own much younger leaders barely ever replicated. He pushed for U.S. helicopters to be deployed in Pakistan for the flood victims. He pushed for more aid money for Pakistan from a reluctant Congress.
Military force, as he saw it, was often the indispensable ally of diplomacy, not merely its alternative. That’s a lesson Holbrooke took to his final assignment in Pakistan and Afghanistan as a proponent of President Obama’s surge. In August, he wrote us personally about the task ahead. His counsel is worth sharing: ’We face an extraordinary challenge – and our greatest enemy is time. Americans are by nature impatient and driven by election cycles and screaming cable guys; Afghans see time differently and everything moves more slowly than we expect. If [the mission] is as important as we say it is, we must give it time.’
Holbrooke’s energy and intellect made him America’s best-known diplomat, but we’ll remember him in particular as a diplomat who never doubted America as a force for good in the world.
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