Richard Holbrooke, a diplomatic fixture since the Vietnam era whose last assignment was special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died Monday following heart surgery.

His neoliberal campaigning made him the enemy of progressives and the friend of trigger-happy presidents. The current White House resident described him as “one of the giants of American foreign policy” before learning of Holbrooke’s death. — PZS

President Obama quoted by the Los Angeles Times:

Richard Holbrooke has been serving this nation with distinction for nearly 50 years — from a young foreign service officer in Vietnam to the architect of the accords that ended the slaughter in the Balkans, to advancing our regional efforts as our special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and countless crises and hot spots in between. He is simply one of the giants of American foreign policy.

And as anyone who has ever worked with him knows — or had the clear disadvantage of negotiating across the table from him — Richard is relentless. He never stops. He never quits. Because he’s always believed that if we stay focused, if we act on our mutual interests, that progress is possible. Wars can end. Peace can be forged.

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