From the transcript:
Mr. HOLBROOKE: On every page of the many complicated documents and annexes initialed here today lie challenges to both sides to set aside their enmities, their differences, which are still are raw and open wounds. They must work together.
NORTHAM: Steve Clemons, with the New America Foundation, says it took Holbrooke’s strong nature to work on the Bosnia negotiations. Clemons, who knew Holbrooke for about 15 years, says he was very ambitious and would bulldoze his way to results.
Mr. STEVE CLEMONS (New America Foundation): I think Richard was a highly talented, skillful diplomat who was used to dealing with tough neighborhoods and tough personalities, monstrous people. And he was tenaciously committed to results. He would focus on the those results and he would do nearly anything to achieve those results.
NORTHAM: Clemons says history will be kind to Holbrooke over the Dayton Accords, but maybe not on his last position as U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Clemons says he thinks the history books there will be mixed. He says Holbrooke made some strides trying to build up civil society in Afghanistan but hit many brick walls and clashed with many of the key players.
Mr. CLEMONS: Of all the things that he might’ve been given by the Obama administration, they gave him just about the very worst portfolio. I think that had he continued to be with us, I think that he would have found a way to at least force his portfolio into a win.
NORTHAM: Clemons says Holbrooke was trying to be innovative in his role as special representative, and he opened up the possibility of negotiating with the Taliban as a way of ending the conflict in Afghanistan. But he understood the dynamics were much more difficult there, as he indicated last month during an interview with NPR’s MORNING EDITION.
Mr. HOLBROOKE: Well, I’ve thought about that a lot. Each negotiation has its own dynamic and this one is unique. It’s not going to end at a place like Dayton, Ohio, where you get all the combatants behind a high barbed wire fence and don’t let them out until you have agreement.
NORTHAM: Holbrooke is survived by his wife, Kati Marton, and two sons.
Just to further comment, I don’t like the word “bulldozer” to describe Richard Holbrooke. He was not all about force. He could be softer than soft if that is what securing the goal required. He was a brilliant chameleon and could show restraint as much as aggressiveness.
This is a feature of Richard Holbrooke that many are missing.
— Steve Clemons