by D. Cupples | Last week, I was able to see former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. We didn't have lunch, sip daiquiris at a swimming pool, or even shake hands. I was in an auditorium with 150 other people, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Naturally, she shared insights about U.S. foreign policy -- her delivery laced with humor. When asked about North Korea, she mentioned a meeting with Kim Jong-Il. The intelligence on was not as good as it could have been, she recalled: "They said he was crazy and perverted. He's not crazy."
Albright went on to talk about major issues that the next president will face, which are discussed in her recently published book, "Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership."
The book lays out some of the most serious issues facing the nation's next president. She got the idea to write the book while attending President Gerald Ford's funeral at the National Cathedral.
One issue that the next president must face is the restoration of the "good name of democracy" around the world, a name that the Bush Administration managed to sully in seven short years. As Albright correctly pointed out, it's not real democracy if it's forced on people:
"Democracy is good," Albright said. "Even in Florida, you've been able to participate occasionally."
Laughter erupted in that Floridian-filled room.
Naturally, Albright discussed the Iraq war, regarding it as America's "biggest foreign-policy disaster" in history. She elaborated:
"Iran is the biggest unintended consequence of the Iraq war. Iran has won in Iraq...."
"There are no good options in Iraq.... It was a very badly managed situation by the U.S., and that's why we don't have good options.... There is no military solution to Iraq..."
About the peace in Israel, Albright seemed dissatisfied with the Bush Administration's progress:
"President Bush talked about having a road map to peace. It took him seven years to take it out of the glove compartment."
Though she was allotted only 45 minutes with us, Albright also managed to touch on Africa, China, India, Latin America and Pakistan.
You can read a description of Albright's book (or even order it) here: "Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership."
Toward the end, Albright made yet another astute observation -- and managed to create a new metaphor in the process:
"Foreign policy is not a chess game. It's like a pool game: someone with a cue hits a ball, and lots of balls get hit along the way."
Among her other activities, Albright teaches at Georgetown University. If the talk I attended is anything like her classes, she's likely a very popular professor.