- Dead on December 13 at age 69 after two aorta tear surgeries
failed to save him, Western media headlines hailed the man London Guardian
writers Ed Pilkington and Adam Gabbat called a "giant of US foreign
policy," saying his loss leaves "a substantial hole to fill."
- On December 13, New York Times writer Robert McFadden
headlined, "Strong American Voice in Diplomacy and Crisis," saying:
- "Mr. Holbrooke was hospitalized on (December 10)
after becoming ill. (After two major surgeries, he) remained in very critical
condition until his death....A brilliant, sometimes abrasive infighter,
he used a formidable arsenal of facts, bluffs, whispers, implied threats
and, when necessary, pyrotechnic fits of anger to press his positions."
For good reason, he was nicknamed "The Bulldozer."
- Former CIA officer, turned activist and political critic,
Ray McGovern, called him a favorite Democrat party "go-to diplomat
for particularly messy conflicts," like the 1990s Balkans wars and
current Afghanistan/Pakistan (Af-Pak) ones "where a strong moral compass
was viewed as something of a disqualifier." (He) was counted on to
bulldoze through and over any ethical qualms to achieve what Washington
wanted." He obliged.
- Obama called him "a true giant of American foreign
policy," pursuing a belligerent imperial agenda he didn't mention.
Nor did major media reports, presenting their customary sanitized versions
of current issues, history, and notable public figures like Holbrooke,
misportrayed as heros.
- His diplomatic career spanned nearly five decades, first
in Vietnam as an Agency for International Development (USAID) representative,
then a staff assistant to ambassadors Maxwell Taylor and Henry Cabot Lodge.
Re-asssigned to the White House, he served Lyndon Johnson in the same capacity.
In the late 1960s, he wrote one volume of the Pentagon Papers, and served
as special assistant to Under Secretaries of State Nicholas Katzenbach
and Elliot Richardson. He also was a member of the US Delegation to the
Vietnam Paris Peace Talks.
- In the 1970s, he was a fellow at Princeton's Woodrow
Wilson School, a Peace Corp Director in Morocco, managing editor of Foreign
Policy magazine, and National Security Affairs coordinator for the Carter/Mondale
- He then became Carter's Assistant Secretary of State
for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and held other various public and private
positions, including as managing director for Lehman Brothers.
- Under Clinton, he was Ambassador to Germany, UN Ambassador,
Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, and chief architect of the 1995
Dayton Accords, ending the early 1990s Balkan wars. More on them below.
He then served as Clinton's Special Envoy to Bosnia, Kosovo, and Cyprus.
Most recently, he was Obama's Special Representative for Afghanistan and
Pakistan. More on that as well.
- The Holbrooke Legacy Media Reports Won't Explain
- Hailed as the architect of the 1995 Dayton Accords, ending
the early 1990s Balkan wars, major media reports didn't explain how it
artificially split the former Yugoslav republic in two, establishing the
Federation of Bosnia/Herzegovina (the Muslim/Croat alliance) and the Serb
Republic of Bosnia/Herzegovina (Republika Srpska).
- Also left out was the West's economic and social assault
on Yugoslavia under Slobodan Milosevic. It precipitated civil war, serving
as an imperial scheme to divide, conquer, occupy and control. As a result,
millions of people remain impoverished. Bosnia is a Western, largely US
colony, under NATO military occupation. Its 1999 war of aggression followed.
More on it below.
- Diana Johnstone wrote the definitive account of the Balkan
wars. Her book, "Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions,"
is essential reading to understand its causes and long-lasting effects.
For the West, it was about deterring Milosevic's "Greater Serbia"
quest, a gross mischaracterization of truth about a war Western powers
wanted and initiated, notably Washington and Germany. They encouraged cessation,
provoking conflict, then taking credit for ending it. In 1995, Holbrooke
served as point man for round one, followed by his role again leading up
to NATO's 1999 war of aggression, concluding its unfinished business.
- Milosevic, an opportunistic politician, in fact, wanted
Yugoslavia's disintegration prevented. When it happened, he wanted minority
Serbs protected, allowed either to stay in Yugoslavia or get autonomy in
the newly created rump states. Besides occupation and colonization, Johnstone
believes Washington's aims included:
- -- preventing a European-backed settlement;
- -- "assert(ing) its dominance over European allies
in the arbitration of European conflicts;" Holbrooke admitted it in
his memoirs and played a key role;
- -- expanding NATO through a new "out of area"
humanitarian mission, aka US dominated colonization and military occupation;
- -- "gain(ing) influence in the Muslim world by championing
the Bosnian Muslims."
- She also called "government by international bureaucracy
(a) new trend in the New World Order." Since Holbrooke's negotiated
- "Bosnia-Herzegovina has been ruled by a similar
combination: a complicated set of local authorities under the strict supervision
of a 'High Representative' (a contemporary Proconsul or Viceroy) who can,
and does, annul laws adopted by the local democratic institutions or dismiss
democratically chosen officials" not in tow with America's imperial
- In other words, it's a dictatorship portrayed as democracy,
the kind Washington disdains and won't tolerate abroad or at home, never
in one of its colonies.
- In his role as Dayton Accords architect, Holbrooke, in
fact, helped establish colonial rule and end Yugoslavia's market socialism
experiment, imposing Western-style "free market" harshness, the
same type IMF measures spreading mass impoverishment in Europe and America.
At the time, Newsweek called the agreement "less (for) peace....than
a declaration of surrender," giving America and NATO full colonial
control. Yet Holbrooke was hailed as a peace architect - ending Yugoslav
sovereignty at the point of a gun.
- Holbrooke's Role in NATO's 1999 Serbia/Kosovo Aggression
- In October 1998, a NATO air verification mission was
agreed to for Kosovo. In November, Holbrooke brokered a framework for a
political settlement with Milosevic. A second Verification Mission was
then established to assure compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions
1160 and 1199.
- As Special Envoy, Holbrooke worked closely with Christopher
Hill, chief negotiator of the Rambouillet Agreement, the proximate cause
of the 1999 war. In January that year, senior officials of the six "Contact
Group" countries (America, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Italy)
held a London peace conference, threatening war unless Yugoslavia complied
with stipulated terms. They were coming, the kind no legitimate leader
- In February, Milosevic got them - the Rambouillet Accord.
It was an ultimatum he couldn't accept, a take-it-or-leave-it demand to
surrender Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) sovereignty to a NATO occupation
force with unimpeded access to its land, airspace and territorial waters,
as well as any area or facility therein.
- Moreover, it required the FRY to let NATO freely operate
outside federal law.
- It was an offer designed for rejection, giving a US-led
NATO force cause to attack. It followed from March 24 - June 10, 1999,
pounding the FRY mercilessly. Around 600 aircraft flew about 3,000 sorties,
dropping thousands of tons of ordnance as well as hundreds of ground-launched
cruise missiles. Up to then, its ferocity was unprecedented.
- Nearly everything was struck, causing massive destruction
and disruption, including known or suspected military sites and targets;
power plants; factories; transportation; telecommunications facilities;
vital infrastructure, including roads, bridges and rail lines; fuel depots;
schools; a TV station; the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade; hospitals; government
offices; churches; historic landmarks; and more in cities and villages
throughout the country.
- It was a lawless war of aggression portrayed as a humanitarian
mission. Holbrooke was instrumental in launching it. It inflicted an estimated
$100 billion in damage. A humanitarian disaster resulted. Environmental
contamination was extensive. Large numbers were killed, injured or displaced.
Two million people lost their livelihoods, many their homes and communities,
and for most their futures under continuing military occupation.
- Opening an avenue to Eurasia, a permanent US military
presence was established, serving America's broader imperial agenda. Iraq
and Afghanistan followed, again bogusly waged on humanitarian grounds.
- Holbrooke helped further Washington's imperial agenda,
from Vietnam to the Balkans to Afghanistan and Pakistan, his role as Special
Representative from January 26, 2009 until his death.
- Publicly his comments were upbeat. Privately, he was
frustrated by a corrupt, inept Karzai regime, many US officials, and a
conflict no combination of strategy and resources can turn around and win.
Before receiving sedation for surgery, family members reportedly said his
last words to his surgeon were, "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan."
Perhaps it was his only sensible opinion throughout nearly five decades
of public service. Too bad, no one's listening.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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