In gauging the place of America on the world's stage Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State during the Clinton administration, pressed strongly for, "diplomacy with world powers" rather than solely "chest thumping" military intervention. She held the Bush administration before the audience with an angry sense of disdain, and described the administration's work as, reckless.
Albright came to the United States in 1948, and her eyes would light up in describing the world of her youth under Harry Truman. Currently, she greatly supports the work of the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C., where her speech was held. She describes it as, "an institution that is meant to keep America strong and just." And that the purpose is the same as when it was created in 2003: "to bring Americans together on behalf of our policies."
She says that though there are partisan lines, personal friendships between Republicans and Democrats are possible for she was friends with the late Jesse Helms, and though they, "disagreed on pretty much everything grew to trust and respect each other."
There was an overhead view that the Bush administration greatly damaged the world's perception of the United States and there is now a growing skepticism of U.S. involvement in other country's affairs. She drew back to the days of Presidents Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt and encouraged that others wanting to be progressives should look toward the framework of their policies as guidance for the future.
"President Obama," she went on to say, "inherited an incredible mess." She credited Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton with restoring diplomacy and on a broader level sanctioned, "people to people ties in global engagements."
She turned back to, "the Iraq effect," which she states created, "the creeping sense that America can do little in the world." And that proper use of "economics must be upheld," in foreign policy.
Albright continued with speaking about her more personal moments and how she remembers the date of August 7th, 1998 as the most harrowing of her career, because it was the day attacks on the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 122 people and injured 5,000. She recalls accompanying the bodies of 10 of her colleagues over the Atlantic ocean for a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base.
And in what seemed to be an indirect reference in creating adequate policies to react to attacks on American soil, Albright referred to Truman, saying that he, "never hesitated to defend America but he also...had the wisdom to lead in a way that attracted international support. He was determined to create a world where rules have real meaning."
For the 2016 election Albright thinks we must learn from the past, and "show the country we can lead with intelligence, conviction and strength." She warned against demagoguery and in answer to an audience question said, "there is no way to exist in the 21st Century without a multilateral approach," to foreign policy and politics.
By Sarah Bahl