The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Holbrooke speaks at convocation

By Matthew Stone

The former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said Monday afternoon that the next president of the United States would be forced to deal with “the worst world situation ever,” but held out faith that the United States’ leadership role in the world could be a force for positive change.In a 45-minute convocation address held in Kagin Commons, Richard Holbrooke, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to Germany during former President Bill Clinton’s administration, praised some of his political forebears while taking digs at President George W. Bush’s foreign policy. The address attracted over 700 audience members who listened intently and occasionally laughed at the former ambassador’s quips.

Citing the four-year-old war in Iraq, a potential war with Iran, challenging diplomatic relations with China and Russia, the continuing presence of Al-Qaeda, and the global spread of AIDS, Holbrooke said the next president would face a unique set of challenges. Despite what he called the United States’ diminished standing in the world, Holbrooke said, the U.S. is “still capable of being the world leader,” and needs to remain in that role.

“When the U.S. is absent from negotiation, its chances for success are much diminished,” said Holbrooke, who has endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy and aspires to serve as Secretary of State.

The career diplomat, who has also served as a Peace Corps director in Morocco and a managing editor of the journal Foreign Affairs, cited past U.S. successes in negotiating peace deals. The 1978 Camp David Accords that President Jimmy Carter helped to broker between Egypt and Israel were “a classic example of American leadership.”

The 1995 Dayton Accords signed between the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia-Holbrooke headed up the negotiations that led to the deal-are another example of the United States’ potential for positive global influence, he said.

“The U.S. could feel proud that by taking the lead.we were able to end the war,” Holbrooke said.

While he extolled the virtues of diplomatic negotiation over the use of military force, Holbrooke warned that the situation in Iraq has escalated to the point at which negotiation among the warring factions is no longer a possibility. The threat of military action against those parties that refuse to come to the negotiating table has lost its impact after more than four years of war.

“Iraq, I think, is just beyond a negotiated settlement,” Holbrooke said, calling Gen. David Petraeus’ assessment of the current Iraqi situation, which he delivered to Congress earlier this week, too “upbeat.”

Conflict in Afghanistan, which Holbrooke called a counter-insurgency “bearing great resemblance to Vietnam” is not “amenable to negotiations,” the diplomat added.

Holbrooke repeatedly spoke of a need for world leaders to work to prevent serious conflict. The Bush administration’s abandonment of negotiations with Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo when it assumed the White House in 2001, Holbrooke said, has allowed a dispute to build up that has pitted Russia against the U.S.

“The failure to prevent a crisis set in,” the former ambassador said. “When the U.S. does nothing, the rest of the world tends to do nothing.”

Urvashi Wattal ’09 said she appreciated Holbrooke’s message about preventive diplomacy.

“The way he talked about prevention, that’s something that gets missed out on a lot,” she said after the speech.

Holbrooke’s address featured some lighter moments.

Recounting how he ended up as the German ambassador during the Clinton administration when former Vice President Walter Mondale ’50 became the U.S. ambassador to Japan, he praised Mondale, with whom he had appeared publicly earlier in the day in Weyerhaeuser Chapel, as a “great American and a great civil servant.”

The diplomat told audience members that he has hope of the United States continuing to assume a positive role in the world because of an emerging generation of committed leaders.

“I’m utterly confident that the U.S. will prevail like it has in the past,” he said.

Holbrooke’s appearance on campus kicked off the college’s Mideast Peace and Conflict Series, which will also include a summit this Monday featuring Mondale, Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, and Israeli Knesset member Yossi Beilin.Holbrooke speaks at convocation

View Comments (12)
More to Discover

Comments (12)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • R

    Ryan WrightSep 11, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks for expressing your ideas on this blog. Likewise, a fantasy regarding the finance institutions intentions while talking about foreclosure is that the loan company will not have my payments. There is a certain quantity of time which the bank can take payments from time to time. If you are too deep inside the hole, they should commonly desire that you pay the payment completely. However, i am not saying that they will not take any sort of installments at all. In case you and the standard bank can be capable to work anything out, the actual foreclosure course of action may cease. However, when you continue to skip payments wih the new program, the foreclosure process can pick up exactly where it left off.

  • H

    Hannah ButlerSep 10, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Awsome blog! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also.

  • R

    Ruth PatersonSep 6, 2019 at 2:38 am

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your web site.

  • N

    NativeDeodorantdiscountcodeJul 30, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Thanks for uncovering the brilliant post. You talked about the web link developing methods remarkably.

  • P

    PeterPiper PizzaCouponJul 30, 2019 at 4:20 am

    Carries anyone obtained any correct success through HARO? It simply seems that most of the reporters attached with the organization are from the US which terribly lack much anticipations from other countries especially in South Asia. Brian, can you really immediate us to any full circumstance studies? Thanks.

  • S

    Sky Zone CouponsJul 29, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Comes with anyone got any real success from HARO? It merely feels that many of the reporters mounted on the organization are usually from the united states which terribly lack much anticipations from other nations around the world primarily in South Asia. Brian, is it possible to main me to any event studies? Thanks.