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“A bull with no china shop”: the diplomat who embodied the many sides of American optimism

Diplomat Richard Holbrooke was at the heart of America's greatest foreign policy challenges in the latter 20th century—and represented the end of a national era

By Tom Fletcher   July 2019

George Packer's "Our Man" reveals a portrait of a diplomat who embodied outward-looking muscular foreign policy.

“Above all, not too much zeal,” Talleyrand famously counselled his fellow diplomats. Richard Holbrooke was a keen student of history, but he never got the memo.

This giant of American diplomacy—who worked for Democratic presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama, and who helped broker peace in the former Yugoslavia—was certainly…

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