THE DIPLOMAT tells the remarkable story of the life and legacy of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, whose singular career spans fifty years of American foreign policy – from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
Told through the perspective of his eldest son David, the documentary takes you behind the scenes of high stakes diplomacy where peace is waged and wars are ended. As a young man, Holbrooke was sent to Vietnam as a junior foreign service officer and saw up close what went wrong. Thirty years later, he is tasked by President Clinton to bring another conflict to an end, this time in Europe where the Bosnian war is raging. This success earns him fame, but not his dream job of Secretary of State. Yet he continues on, getting an impossible mission from President Obama of ending the war in Afghanistan. The effort does not go well, as Holbrooke runs into obstacles in Kabul and Washington and dies on the job in December 2010 of heart failure.
Experiencing his father’s death, Holbrooke’s son David realizes that he did not know this historical figure’s legacy well enough. Holbrooke was always on the road, which created an inevitable distance between father and son. In the course of grieving, David decides that he needs to understand his father better in death than in life, and he sets out into his world.
"It would be very hard to say that there's been a single diplomat since the end of World War II that had anything like that kind of impact. He was just good at it. He solved big things."
- President Bill Clinton