Washington Post columnist Al Kamen took note today of Special Envoy to Pakistan-Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke’s "Growing Orbit," a reference to plans to hire around 50 new staffers for the envoy’s team. While some might question the size of that staff, Holbrooke’s diplomatic task is immense, and ultimately it is worth investing Holbrooke with significant staff if he can successfully navigate the treacherous diplomatic shoals involved in bringing peace to both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The article also notes that, in sharp contrast to Holbrooke, Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration has a dedicated staff totaling four. Four people? Do we really think a team that would fit into a Mini-Cooper is sufficient to bring peace to Darfur, reinvigorate the North-South peace deal, and simultaneously engage with the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union, the International Criminal Court, numerous rebel factions, and an indicted war criminal in Khartoum?
Let’s hope that President Obama allocates the personnel and resources to enable all of his special envoys to effectively confront and resolve the monumental challenges that face them.
Laura Heaton contributed to this post.