Charles Nailen/The Hoya Georgetown Professor and former Secretary of State adeliene Albright addresses students at the SFS Academic Council Student-Faculty Banquet

Former Secretary of State and current Georgetown Professor adeleine Albright spoke and answered questions to over 100 School of Foreign Service students Thursday night at a banquet organized by the SFS Academic Council in Copley Formal lounge.

Albright was introduced by SFS Dean Robert Gallucci. Gallucci is the former Deputy Executive Director of UNSCOM, the United Nations Special Commission that was created to perform the first-ever weapons inspections in Iraq. The Dean was also chief U.S. negotiator of Agreed Framework, the accord under which North Korea promised to halt its production of weapons-grade plutonium. In his years with the State Department, Gallucci worked with then Secretary of State Albright. He recounted these experiences in his introduction.

“I listened to her many times in the situation room at the White House. Time after time she made the ethical argument. She is very concerned with the moral dimensions of foreign policy,” Gallucci said.

Albright then prefaced the question and answer period with her assessment of the current foreign policy landscape. She began with a foreboding but reasonable general statement.

“I do think this is a dangerous period, as dangerous as I have ever seen. However, it is too easy to think that your own time is the worst,” Albright said.

The former Secretary of State first addressed the pressing matter of terrorism. As both the District and the university were recently put on a higher state of alert regarding the terrorist threat, Albright offered a surprising assessment of the government’s relative level of concern regarding terrorist attacks.

“Everything that they [the terrorists] are doing is treacherous,” Albright said. “However, there is not as much focus on fighting terrorism as there is on Iraq.”

Albright spoke at some length about the United States’ diplomacy in the Iraq situation, a subject that is very much in the American mind as war potentially approaches.

“We have quickly driven ourselves into a tunnel, which has no exit,” Albright said.

The tunnel America seems to have driven itself into is one of conflict. According to Albright, all non-violent exits have been blocked since the beginning. This is difficult for the U.S. because the war on terror has a profound effect on international alliances throughout the world.

“This is unfortunate timing to wage war, with the terrorist situation affecting ally dynamics,” Albright said.

Albright also believes that U.S. must confront these difficulties or manage without certain allies.

“I believe we are going to war. The military part will be simple, but the rest will be difficult. The long term effect of the Iraq situation will be the destruction of the international institutions,” Albright said.

More than anything else, recent events have shown us the stress that the Iraq situations has put on organizations like the United Nations and North American Trade Organization. France and Germany’s refusal to involve themselves in the conflict and support their U.N. and NATO ally, the U.S., has caused distraught among international organizations that Albright believes will prove very damaging in the future.

“We spent years trying to unify Europe through the U.N. and NATO. I think what the French are doing by refusing to act on the Iraq situation is very bad,” she said.

Albright then moved on to older issues that have been mainstays on the U.S. foreign policy map for decades. She commented first on Israel and Palestine, saying the situation’s resolution is bleak.

“The Middle East peace process is like a bike. If you don’t ride it, it falls down,” Albright said.

The fervor of belief driving Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasar Arafat seems too strong to allow for possible compromise, according to Albright.

“We have two stubborn old men who have always hated each other hurting their own people,” she said.

Albright then discussed Gallucci’s specialty, North Korea. In the years Albright was in office, she put high priority on North Korea, a country she believed posed the greatest threat in the world at the time. Gallucci was instrumental in the nuclear disarmament of the country, which is still in great jeopardy.

“The biggest mistake the current regime has made is on North Korea,” she said. “We left important cards on the table that they have refused to pick up and now two years have been wasted.”

In her final point, Albright addressed the recently ignored, but nevertheless important, conflict between India and Pakistan. This issue has settled in the background, a situation with which Albright is not comfortable.

“People have not focused on the fact that these two nuclear powers are at odds,” Albright said.

Albright did not neglect to mention how happy she was to return to teaching at the university after her years away.

“Its so good to be back home,” Albright said. “To ask withering questions to a new group of students.”

For students interested in the North Korean issue, the SFS Academic Council will hold a teach-in led by Dean Gallucci on March 25.

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