As Ambassador Richard Holbrooke prepared to leave his post
at the United Nations in his native New York, he reflected in
an interview to the weekend issue of the Financial Times on his
four exits and re-entrances between government work and Wall Street.
"Government tend(s) to be viewed by most people as a process while
Wall Street id not interested in the process but only in the outcome.
After all, government is about helping people not just about maintaining
its own process. I also learned about the importance of closing
a deal." He called the Millennium Summit of last September " a
hell of a party and even bigger traffic jam." These did not change
Having called the UN "indispensable" to US foreign policy, he
says the only choice for the organization now is to reform itself
in order to be saved. "And the more reform, the more money will
come," he said simply.
Holbrooke reckons the "core issue" of US foreign policy in the
next several decades will be Washington's relations with China.
"Each cycle of history is marked by one great sweeping issue,"
he says. "The first half of the 20th century was marked by the
battle against fascism, the second half by the rise and fall of
"The large, overriding issue of the first half of the new century
will be the relationship between the US and China. But I don't
think it'll be a struggle that one has to win and the other has
to lose. It will be the search for coexistence, in a way which
each country respects the other."
Looking back with a critical eye at Clinton's foreign policy
legacy, he says he was troubled by the fact that the US intervened
in Bosnia too late, and has "grave concerns about what happened
No one has asked the US to be a global cop, he says, but it presents
itself as the world's only superpower, and, while this does not
mean that it should attempt to solve every problem of the world,
it does mean that it has certain responsibilities.
"If I had to sum up my greatest concern about American foreign
policy today. It's the gap between our rhetoric and our resources,"
he says. "We keep proclaiming lofty goals, and then not putting
up enough resources to achieve them."
In another interview with The New York Times the outgoing Ambassador
described Kofi Annan as "the best Secretary General ever".