In one discussion about the tensions between Pakistan and India, Holbrooke introduced a new angle. "There's a global warming dimension of this struggle, Mr. President," he said.
His words baffled many in the room.
There are tens of thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops encamped on the glaciers in the Himalayas that feed the rivers into Pakistan and India, he said. "Their encampments are melting the glaciers very quickly." There's a chance that river valleys in Pakistan and perhaps even India could be flooded.
After the meeting, there were several versions of one question: Was Holbrooke kidding?
He was not. Holbrooke subsequently detailed his concerns in a written report. The diplomat--sensing that he was on the outs with Obama--was trying as hard as he could to say something distinctive that would impress the president (210-211).
The story segues into further evidence of Holbrooke's failure to connect with Obama. Is the irony intentional? Woodward's preface to Obama's Wars is dated July 25, 2010. The catastrophic floods struck Pakistan on July 22, 2010.