The war in Iraq has reduced the sympathy other nations had for the United States after the 2001 terrorist attacks, Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a top contender for the job of Secretary of State in a Kerry administration, said yesterday during a taping of The Editors television program.
The Bush administration's decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power with little global support has undermined the country's position in foreign affairs, he said.
"The United States is more isolated in the world today than it has been at any time in the last century," he said.
He was questioned by Marilou Johanek, of The Blade editorial board. The Editors will be broadcast at 8:30 tomorrow on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.
Mr. Holbrooke said that acting independently and against the will of the American people and other nations means administration officials no longer have global support and lack the ability "to forge great agreements." Mr. Holbrooke, an assistant secretary of state and a special envoy to Bosnia and Kosovo under President Bill Clinton, helped negotiate the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995.
He said that while the United States had the right to go to war in Iraq, it should seek U.N. approval for such actions.
Mr. Holbrooke spoke to the Hungarian Club of Toledo last night with his wife, Kati Marton, chairman of the International Women's Health Coalition. Later, he signed a hot dog bun at Tony Packo's. He visited Toledo after serving as foreign policy advisor for Sen. John Edwards in the vice presidential debates in Cleveland on Tuesday.
He said he thought Mr. Edwards out-debated Vice President Dick Cheney, and that some of Mr. Cheney's statements could be disproved by previous video footage. "I was astonished," he said. "I thought Dick Cheney was way off his game."
Mr. Holbrooke said he thinks the war is more important as a campaign issue to undecided voters than to people who regularly vote for a specific party.
Mr. Holbrooke said disagreements among administration officials, such as recent remarks by Paul Bremer and Donald Rumsfeld, weaken the country's position internationally. "When we go out into the world, we should speak with a clear, single, voice," he said.