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Christopher Holshek
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Christopher Holshek is a Senior Fellow with the Alliance for Peacebuilding and a Veterans for Smart Power Leadership Council member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Before that, he was a Senior Associate with the Project on National Security Reform. A rare American who has served with the UN in military and civilian capacities, he is a retired U.S. Army Civil Affairs officer with three decades of civil-military experience at all levels and settings across the full range of operations, including command of the first CA battalion to deploy to Iraq in support of Army, Marine and British forces, as well as Senior U.S. Military Observer and Chief of Civil-Military Coordination for the UN Mission in Liberia. He has contributed to U.S. Army, Joint, NATO, and United Nations civil-military, peace and stability operations policy and doctrine, and publishes extensively on national peace and security strategy and civil-military issues. Co-Chair of the Peace & Security Committee of the UN Association of the National Capital Area and a Civil Affairs Association Director, he has blogged for The Huffington Post since December 2010. Unless otherwise cited, the opinions in his blogs are his own.

Entries by Christopher Holshek

Got Global Governance?

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 12:38 PM

Last week, Edison W. Dick, former president of the UN Association of the National Capital Area and renowned international lawyer received the Arthur W. Johnson Leadership Award for his many years of strategic vision and leadership in fostering his country's relations with the United Nations. He received his award on...

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Not Your Daddy's VA

(5) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 11:43 AM

A lot of times something bad has to happen before a greater good can. Churchill once observed about Americans that you can "always count on them to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else." What's happening now with the Veterans Administration now may be such a case....

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Beyond The Monuments Men

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 12:27 PM

The Monuments Men, based on the Robert M. Edsel book, is about a time when specialized military units had a direct role in filling the gaps of governance in war-torn countries and making peace out of war. If there's anything that moment in history teaches us, it's that we had...

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The Doubt Goes to the Benefit

(4) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 4:08 PM

President Obama's long-awaited roll-out of national intelligence surveillance and data collection reforms last week has drawn lukewarm to skeptical reaction from a public whose trust in the government in general and in the President in particular is at a low-point. Prior to his speech, a Quinnipiac University poll revealed 57%...

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The Liberating Power of the Positive

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 1:45 PM

When ending his 27 years of imprisonment, the late Nelson Mandela observed: "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison." The same is true with fear. This...

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Killing More Than Kennedy

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 12:43 PM

There are moments of history that loom larger in our lives than any other single event, when communal and personal experiences flatten to the point where they become one in the same, connecting us all to mythic proportions. Unlike 9/11, the assassination of John F. Kennedy transcends most human divisions,...

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From Veteran's Day to National Service Day

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 9:39 AM

By Veteran's Day next year, all but a few American troops in Afghanistan will have withdrawn. The fifth major defense drawdown since World War II will be in full swing - and it may go further and last longer than previous reductions. As explained before, a well-managed drawdown...

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It Takes a Nation to Fix a Government

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 11:37 AM

It seems that American dissatisfaction with the political system is peaking at three out of every four, according to one of yet another parade of polls. Also cresting is our unhappiness about the direction of the country, the workings of government, and the image of elected officials. Nine...

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Better Than Lucky

(2) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 1:04 PM

September is a great time for sports, with baseball, football, and soccer going on and hockey and basketball about to start. That and last week's unexpected breakthrough deal on Syrian chemical weapons as at least a temporary way out of what would no doubt be a disastrous move to launch...

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The Moral Matters

(10) Comments | Posted July 4, 2013 | 11:10 AM

Seven score and ten years ago, Americans fought the largest land battle in the history of the Western Hemisphere, resulting in nearly as many killed as in the Vietnam War. The ferocity of the fight at Gettysburg didn't owe to a clash over land or other riches at the behest...

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National Security Über Alles?

(2) Comments | Posted June 20, 2013 | 4:51 PM

The controversy over the National Security Agency's gigantic information-gathering and collection programs is sparking a much-needed national debate. And that's a good thing, for a number of reasons. Sure, a lot of this is about the ongoing tension between security and civil liberties. Polls show that the public has been...

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Mali and the Primacy of Civil Authority

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 7:56 PM

The international donor's conference on Mali co-chaired by France and the European Union earlier this month is another demonstration that "the United States has no choice but to embrace the sound underpinnings" of 'leading from behind.'" (Like "containment" at its start or "restrainment" now,...

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The Whole of National Sacrifice

(3) Comments | Posted May 24, 2013 | 12:10 PM

In all the brouhaha over Benghazi, one thing seems to get less attention among all grandstanding and political posturing. Last September 11th, four public servants -- among them an ambassador -- died in the service of their country. At a quiet ceremony that hardly made news two weeks...

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From Containment to 'Restrainment'

(1) Comments | Posted May 2, 2013 | 10:01 AM

At the turn into the previous century, Theodore Roosevelt invoked the proverb: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." Advising caution and non-aggression, backed up by the ability to do violence if required, Roosevelt contextualized the foreign policy of a rising world power, in his own...

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Of Hubris and Humility

(2) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 1:58 PM

Pope Francis has wasted little time setting a new tone for his institution and those who follow it. Eschewing the usual trappings of material wealth - the papal apartment, the limousine, the fancy shoes, etc. - he is leading in the example of his namesake to remind this generation of...

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Decapitating Defense

(1) Comments | Posted February 28, 2013 | 12:22 PM

It's not only Zero Dark Thirty that had a disappointing showing at the Academy Awards. The whole idea that we can simply kill our way out of the problem of international terrorism, using drones or SEAL teams to decapitate al Qaeda franchises by targeting their leadership, has had at best...

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The Carlin Doctrine

(4) Comments | Posted February 1, 2013 | 9:19 AM

Having done about a half-million miles of travel over the last few years, I've found (the late) George Carlin's musings on "airport security" helpful to maintaining my sense of humor when dealing with the sometimes odious and repetitive task of proving to the TSA screeners that I am...

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Heroes With a Million Faces

(2) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 2:57 PM

Last month, I had the honor and privilege of attending the first annual Hero Summit, the live-streamed launch of the Newsweek's Hero Project, which looks to "pay tribute to America's deep tradition of service, investigate the phenomenon of moral and physical courage under fire, and explore the very...

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Obama's Other Golden Hour

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 3:47 PM

As Steven Spielberg's film shows, Abraham Lincoln knew what it meant to live in the moment while remaining conscious of historic chance, realizing his limits as well as the possibilities of the oftentimes inelegant art of politics. History is often made this way, not in grand gestures of magnanimity or...

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Demilitarizing America

(12) Comments | Posted November 11, 2012 | 12:45 PM

With the elections now over and a good many of us having performed our most fundamental act of national service in casting a ballot, the largest and most immediate challenge facing the New-Boss-Same-as-the-Old-Boss is the so-called "fiscal cliff" and the possibility -- if not probability -- of massive...

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