GU FACULTY Albright Encourages Students To Rally Behind President By Tracy Zupancis Hoya Staff Writer

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright emphasised the importance of supporting the U.S. government in Gaston Hall Thursday.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke to a capacity crowd in Gaston Hall Thursday night, emphasizing the need for patience and prudent use of the United States’ diplomatic tools in what she predicted will be a long international campaign against terrorism after the attacks of Sept. 11.

After paying respect to Georgetown professor Leslie Whittington and her family, who died aboard American Airlines Flight 77, Albright noted her support for President Bush, adding that he “shouldn’t box himself in and we shouldn’t box him in, by calling for premature action. I believe we all owe our president our support at this time of national emergency . I also think we owe him and his team time to figure out what really works.”

Albright also emphasized the importance of words and cautioned against too strong a use of rhetoric.

“Hyperbole is like a boomerang – it will come back and hit you. I know; it did me,” she said.

Albright said the United States’ strategy must be based on rational calculations, not emotional frustrations.

“We must remember that what this enemy wants us to do is either overreact or shut down or both,” she cautioned.

“There are lots of ways of defining foreign policy,” she said, “but the simplest is to say it is how we try to make other countries do what we think is best for our country.

“As the leader of our democracy, it’s his responsibility to speak to us. As citizens, it’s our responsibility to listen carefully, because in our system, the only true support comes from an understanding of the challenges we all face together.”

Albright also reflected on what she termed her “worst day in office” as secretary of state, the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

“We vowed then that we would track down and bring to justice those who perpetrated those bombings . we launched an all-out, worldwide law enforcement effort to identify and apprehend those who helped the criminals carry out their crimes,” she said.

Most, if not all, of those directly involved with the bombings were arrested, brought to the U.S., prosecuted in federal court and convicted, she said.

Though Albright noted that in this respect, she and the Clinton administration succeeded in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the attacks, the intellectual author of the bombings, Osama bin Laden, was not caught.

“We launched 70 missiles at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and more at a factory in Sudan linked to the attacks. Those strikes were based on the best intelligence we had,” she said.

Nevertheless, the terrorist networks continued, which Albright said indicates “the complex nature of the war we are in.”

She also noted that the Clinton administration was criticized for not using enough force against bin Laden in 1998 and then hitting what some thought was the wrong target in Sudan.

Though Albright speculated that there will be much less domestic concern for killing innocent civilians considering that over 5,000 American civilians were killed in the Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks, she noted that “If we carpet bomb a country as some commentators have suggested, we will lose important international support.”

Albright said her last 2.5 years in office proved to be trying, specifically because the administration “received serious credible threats against our diplomatic missions and personnel almost every day.”

“There were weeks I lived in dread of the next phone call,” she said. “I knew that no matter what our precautions, we could not protect everyone everywhere all the time and still do our jobs. We did all we could . at the time.

“Around the world we have combined law enforcement with diplomacy in order to bring suspected terrorists before the bar of justice,” she said. “We’ve succeeded not only in the Africa bombings, but also in the 1993 World Trade Center explosion, the shootings at CIA headquarters and the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103.”

Despite these successes, she said, “As the events of Sept. 11 show, there is clearly so much more that must be done.”

Drawing on her experience as secretary of state, Albright said current Secretary Colin L. Powell faces the challenge of not only putting an international coalition against terrorism together, but “keeping it together for a long time.”

Also important to remember, she said, is that “Some countries in giving support to us are not doing so without asking for something in return.”

“The hugeness of this disaster actually provides an atmosphere in which the options chosen will have more domestic and international support. But we have to remember that the tools still fall into the same three general categories: diplomatic, economic and military,” she said.

Concerning the diplomatic category, Albright noted a few countries she believes will lend their support with important American concessions.

“The Chinese,” she said, “probably only want to make sure that they’re not giving a green light to interference in domestic affairs, which in their case means they want us to stop talking about Tibet, and not make it difficult for them to control their own Muslim populations. The Russians might want us to stop talking about what they’re doing in Chechnya, the Pakistanis want support in their struggle over Kashmir and less pressure to restore democracy.”

With all these concerns, she said, it is important not to forget other foreign priorities. Albright specifically pointed to the need to give Africa assistance.

She also said that not all countries who side with the United States will want to admit so publicly. Therefore, nations should, she said, be judged on their actions and not their words.

On the economic side, Albright emphasized the importance of international and national banking systems. “A lot can happen positively when national banking systems understand that they can play a key role with strict . rules against money laundering. With their help, we can put a noose around bin Laden’s organization and any other groups,” she said.

Albright termed force the most powerful tool the United States has, especially since the threat of force alone may sometimes work.

In addition to the main category of tools America can use, she said, “we must use what might be seen as a subset of diplomatic tools, that is, careful investigation, counterintelligence and law enforcement. In many ways . international police work.”

As to comparisons between the terrorist attacks and Pearl Harbor, Albright said, “There’s a huge difference. In Hawaii we were bombed by the clearly marked airplanes of an enemy nation possessing armed forces in a country with defined borders. The victims on Tuesday were different than the soldiers and sailors killed at Pearl Harbor. They were not participants in a war as we have long understood the term. They were caught up instead in a new kind of confrontation that will both mark and mar the new century.”

During the course of her time as secretary of state, she said, “One thing I’m sure of is that I learned humility . what stands out most in my mind is that we couldn’t accomplish all that we wanted, and so while I never stopped believing in American leadership, I learned humility.”

President Bush and Secretary Powell, she said, “are continuing what will be a long struggle against terrorism . In humility, I say, may they use their time wisely.”

Albright then fielded student questions, including questions about U.S. policies in Iraq and Egypt.

Albright’s speech was sponsored by the Lecture Fund, and she was introduced by Dean of the School of Foreign Service Robert Gallucci and Vice Chair for External Affairs for Georgetown University Lecture Fund Andrew Koneschusky (MSB ’03).

Albright was also a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff.

As the 64th secretary of state, Albright had the distinction of being the first woman to hold the office, making her the highest-ranking woman in U.S. history.

At Georgetown, Albright was the director of Women in Foreign Service Programs and a research professor of international affairs. In fall of 2002 she will return to campus as the first Michael and Virginia Mortara Professor in the practice of diplomacy.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.