Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AfPak after Holbrooke

Richard Holbrooke's passing on Monday was truly a loss for the foreign policy establishment. If there are rock stars of foreign policy, surely he would be Mick Jagger. He was the elder statesmen of Democratic foreign policy. He was brash, forceful, and relentless. When he was tapped to be Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan in January 2009, there was a real sense that he could pull the situation together and bring it to some sort of resolution. Sadly, he was unable to finish his work, but work remains to be done, and the fates of nations rarely rest on the fate of a man.

What happens now in AfPak? Our current political approach hasn't produced much. It was widely reported that Holbrooke and Karzai didn't get along. Since recently Karzai hasn't gotten along with anyone within the U.S. government, that is unsurprising. Perhaps there is an opportunity to bring in a new special envoy, a new voice, with a new plan for the political strategy necessary to reach a conclusion to large scale U.S. involvement in AfPak.

I am just beginning to consider what that strategy could be, and I have no idea who would serve in the role of Special Envoy. I hope to have a post up on that a little later this week. One thing is clear, if there is a new Special Envoy for AfPak they won't have the star power, the presence, indeed the sheer force that Richard Holbrooke brought to the position.

No comments: