Veteran Diplomat Richard Holbrooke Dies at 69

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

Richard Holbrooke was the man Washington turned to, to deal with the toughest conflicts in the world.

President Obama said,"Richard Holbrooke has been serving this nation with distinction for nearly 50 years. He is simply one of the giants of Amerian foreign policy."

Hillary Clinton said,"He's taken on the hardest assignments, from Vietnam to the Balkans to Afghanistan and Pakistan."

As President Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Holbrooke worked and traveled at an exhausting pace, trying stabilize that troubled region and advance American security.

He called it the most difficult job of his entire career. And he had many difficult jobs. His first overseas posting was in Vietnam in the 1960s. Holbrooke worked for every Democratic administration since John F. Kennedy's.

His greatest diplomatic triumph came in 1995, when he helped negotiate an end to the war in Bosnia.

"It's very hard for the people who made a war to make a peace right away," said Holbrooke.

Holbrooke went on to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, where he engineered a major overhaul of U.N. finances. In 2009, Holbrooke came back from the private sector to help President Obama with his greatest foreign policy challenge, a crisis that outlives him.

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