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Christopher Holshek
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Christopher Holshek, Colonel (retired), U.S. Army Civil Affairs, is a Senior Fellow at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, a U.S. Global Leadership Coalition “Veteran for Smart Power," a Senior Associate at Protect the People, and a former Senior Associate at the Project on National Security Reform. His three decades of civil-military experience includes command of the first U.S. Army Civil Affairs battalion to deploy to Iraq. An international consultant on civil-military and peace operations, he is a rare American that served in United Nations field missions in civilian and military capacities. He writes extensively on peace and security and civil-military topics, and his op-eds and articles appear regularly in Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post and other publications worldwide. In 2016, he is leading a "National Service Ride" to promote whole-of-society citizenship and service, based on his new book, Travels with Harley - Journeys in Search of Personal and National Identity.

Entries by Christopher Holshek

A Country Worth Their Sacrifice

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 5:55 PM

Over the past few years, every time I hear someone thank me for my military service, I've responded by asking that person about his or her career. Some tell me about their public service as police officers, firefighters, emergency responders, civil servants, teachers, and so on. Others tell me about...

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America's Foreign Engagement Gap

(7) Comments | Posted March 4, 2016 | 5:53 PM

The United States is once again in the midst of an inward turn. Unlike the disconnection following the First World War, America's growing national deficit in the capacity and will to engage other people not like them is not the innocent confidence of a rising power but the false bravado...

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Identity and the Future of America

(1) Comments | Posted February 7, 2016 | 11:10 PM

The following is extracted from Travels with Harley - Journeys in Search of Personal and National Identity...

Americans are more worried and anxious about the future than ever. Sure, every generation seems to think, for one reason or another, that the place is going to hell in a...

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Real Americans

(1) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 8:46 AM

One of NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcell's more oft-used quotes is: "You are what your record says you are." That doesn't just apply to sports teams. Team America's record of late has not been of the champion of the values we say define who we are and what...

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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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