Madeleine Albright stops by my work
So Madeleine Albright, the 64th Secretary of State, stopped by my work yesterday. This is actually the second time she's stopped by. I had forgotten in the year or so since I saw her how incredibly smart she is. She was there to promote her new book, The Mighty and the Almighty : Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, but she also answered a lot of interesting questions from the audience. Here are some of her comments:
- The Iraq war will probably turn out to be one of the biggest U.S. foreign policy mistake of all time.
- George Bush thinks he has the answer, and he has surrounded himself with people who believe this, too. If you're always right, then there's no reason to listen to other people. If you're always right, then you don't need a Plan B (exhibit A: Iraq).
- Washington D.C. is not a fun place to be right now.
- When someone asked if the U.S. would formally apologize to countries like Iran (for the 1953 coup that the CIA helped engineer), Ms. Albright said that she and President Clinton did try to apologize. Evidently the president of Iran had been interviewed, and Albright answered the points in the interview to try and open up communications. They also included an apology about 1953. Evidently, "The Iranians didn't pick up on it."
- Iran is the biggest problem the U.S. faces right now. We need to open diplomatic channels.
- U.S. military lesson: If you have nuclear weapons, you won't get invaded. If you don't, you will get invaded (exhibit A: Iraq; exhibit B: Iran).
- A lot of people don't like the current state of politics and foreign policy right now. What can we do about it? There's no better way to get the politicians' attention than to vote.
- President Clinton and Bush both seem like men of faith. Why are they so different? Albright has spent a lot of time talking to Clinton about his faith, but not Bush. From her observations, Clinton doesn't let his faith get in the way of seeking the truth. He doesn't think he has the answer, so he talks to others. Bush has the answer, so he doesn't seek out the truth from others.
- Regarding how much she prepared for a briefing with President Clinton, Albright said it didn't matter how much you prepared--it was never enough. (Sounds like a scary boss.)