August 27, 2008
"The top issue for the next president, whether it's Obama or McCain, will be Afghanistan - there's no doubt about it," Holbrooke said during a panel discussion at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Moderated by Tom Brokaw, the panel also included former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. The event was titled "Enhancing the U.S. Role Around the World," but it focused largely on how grim the outlook is for the next president, and the monumental foreign policy tasks Obama or McCain will face. Holbrooke said Russia's recent invasion of Georgia, which is still occupied, "will change the global strategic landscape in ways we don't entirely understand." Facing what Brokaw called "the greatest agenda of our time" will require the formation of broad international coalitions, Holbrooke said. "America can not go it alone," he said. "And that was a historic mistake in the current administration." Albright also stressed the importance of working with other nations when tackling foreign relations issues - while restoring America's leadership role in the world. "People want to see us back, but they want to see us cooperate," she said.