The Holbrooke Factor

Roger Cohen lobbies hard for the inclusion of Richard Holbrooke in a very powerful role in an Obama administration. I would say the fact that this seems relatively unlikely to happen was emblematic of the reasons to prefer Obama over Hillary Clinton. I think nobody doubts that Holbrooke is an very able practitioner of a certain brand of diplomacy, but his judgment and substantive ideas about broad policy questions leaves much to be desired.

He's the leading light of the clan of self-proclaimed "national security Democrats", that faction of the party sufficiently "serious" about foreign affairs to have seen the deep wisdom of a costly and destructive invasion of Iraq. Holbrooke's big critique of the war is that "It was a mistake to seek the second -- and unnecessary -- Security Council resolution. I wrote an op-ed about this six weeks before the disaster in The Washington Post, and predicted that we were heading into a diplomatic train wreck, so this is not simply hindsight."