Top 28 Richard Holbrooke Quotes of 2020

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“Diplomacy is like jazz: endless variations on a theme.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“In short, you can’t let the deadline define the mission. The mission has to define the duration.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“World War I was not inevitable, as many historians say. It could have been avoided, and it was a diplomatically botched negotiation.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“As countries grapple with modernization, people who are left behind tend to hold firmer and firmer to their view of the evil of modernity.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“I think Americans understand that in Afghanistan, unlike in Iraq and Vietnam, we are fighting an enemy allied with the people who attacked us on 9/11.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“I think history is continuous. It doesn’t begin or end on Pearl Harbor Day or the day Lyndon Johnson withdraws from the presidency or on 9/11. You have to learn from the past but not be imprisoned by it. You need to take counsel of history but never be imprisoned by it.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“I’m a product of the Kennedy era. Kennedy’s Inaugural plus the accident of Dean Rusk brought me into the government. Those were my values.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“You have to test your hypothesis against other theories. Certainty in the face of complex situations is very dangerous.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“The World War II generation believed the United States could do anything – anything… And Vietnam was a shattering experience for everyone.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“I still believe in the possibility of the United States, with all its will and all its strength, and I don’t just mean military, persevering against any challenge. I still believe in that.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“Our enemy is Al Qaeda and its allies, people who have publicly said they wish to attack the United States again, people who have publicly called on nuclear physicists and engineers to help them gain access to nuclear weapons, which, as the whole world knows, Pakistan has.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“By the way, if you do your job on behalf of your country, you have meetings where you put your position forward strongly, and the other side does the same thing. And I’ve had plenty of meetings in my career that really were heated, people yelling at each other.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“A peace deal requires agreements, and you don’t make agreements with your friends, you make agreements with your enemies.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“Nothing generates more heat in the government than the question of who is chosen to participate in important meetings.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“If a country denies it has AIDS, that country will inevitably become an even greater victim.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“The male elites that run most countries are exceedingly uncomfortable with the subject of AIDS because it’s a sexually transmitted disease.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“You will never catch up with the spread of AIDS no matter how much money, no matter how many antiretrovirals are put into the system, unless you stop its growth. And the only way to stop its growth is prevention.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“United Nations peacekeepers are going all over the world spreading AIDS even while they’re trying to bring peace. What a supreme irony.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“People in uniform are not sacrosanct. They don’t have all the answers. The use of force is a political decision at its core, in terms of its objectives; then the military, as the experts, must be brought in to tell you how to do it.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“I’m not a wide-eyed imperialist who wants to see Americans manning outposts all over the world. Not outposts to freedom in the cold war cliche, but islands of stability and seas of ethnic strife. That is not what anyone should feel comfortable seeing Americans doing.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“Pakistani politics is complicated, and I think it’s not something a foreigner can easily assimilate and understand.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“I have worked in every – every Democratic administration since the Kennedy administration, and I know dysfunctionality when I see it.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“We should not be surprised that democracy is imperfect even in Western countries.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“The United States supports the reintegration of people who have fought with the Taliban into Afghan society provided they: one, renounce al Qaeda, two, lay down their arms and renounce violence, and three, participate in the public political life of the country in accordance with the constitution.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“There’s no question that the next generation of terrorists, rather than going for small, little dramas, will go for the big one. They now understand that the way to get the world’s attention is not strapping bombs to themselves in a pizza parlour, but to do something so horrific it gets you into the Guinness Book of World Records for terrorism.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“The United Nations is an indispensable but deeply flawed organization. It is valuable to the United States, and the United States is invaluable to it. We need to reform it.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“Elections are rarely perfect.”

― Richard Holbrooke

“There are certain kinds of second-tier confrontations which the U.S. does not need to get directly involved in. However, even in the second tier of problems, our intervention as a friend to both sides is important.”

― Richard Holbrooke
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