Albright Speaks — We Should Listen

Madeleine Albright served as Secretary of State for four years under President Bill Clinton.  Though I have not always agreed with her positions, I have tremendous respect for her knowledge and understanding.  Today, Ms. Albright published an OpEd in the New York Times that I find astute, timely, and chillingly prescient.  Agree or don’t agree, but I think this is something each of us needs to read and ponder.

Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late?

By Madeleine Albright — April 6, 2018

On April 28, 1945 — 73 years ago — Italians hung the corpse of their former dictator Benito Mussolini upside down next to a gas station in Milan. Two days later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker beneath the streets of war-ravaged Berlin. Fascism, it appeared, was dead.

To guard against a recurrence, the survivors of war and the Holocaust joined forces to create the United Nations, forge global financial institutions and — through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — strengthen the rule of law. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and the honor roll of elected governments swelled not only in Central Europe, but also Latin America, Africa and Asia. Almost everywhere, it seemed, dictators were out and democrats were in. Freedom was ascendant.

Today, we are in a new era, testing whether the democratic banner can remain aloft amid terrorism, sectarian conflicts, vulnerable borders, rogue social media and the cynical schemes of ambitious men. The answer is not self-evident. We may be encouraged that most people in most countries still want to live freely and in peace, but there is no ignoring the storm clouds that have gathered. In fact, fascism — and the tendencies that lead toward fascism — pose a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.

Warning signs include the relentless grab for more authority by governing parties in Hungary, the Philippines, Poland and Turkey — all United States allies. The raw anger that feeds fascism is evident across the Atlantic in the growth of nativist movements opposed to the idea of a united Europe, including in Germany, where the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland has emerged as the principal opposition party. The danger of despotism is on display in the Russia of Vladimir Putin — invader of Ukraine, meddler in foreign democracies, accused political assassin, brazen liar and proud son of the K.G.B. Putin has just been re-elected to a new six-year term, while in Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, a ruthless ideologue, is poised to triumph in sham balloting next month. In China, Xi Jinping has persuaded a docile National People’s Congress to lift the constitutional limit on his tenure in power.

Around the Mediterranean, the once bright promise of the Arab Spring has been betrayed by autocratic leaders, such as Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt (also just re-elected), who use security to justify the jailing of reporters and political opponents. Thanks to allies in Moscow and Tehran, the tyrant Bashar al-Assad retains his stranglehold over much of Syria. In Africa, the presidents who serve longest are often the most corrupt, multiplying the harm they inflict with each passing year. Meanwhile, the possibility that fascism will be accorded a fresh chance to strut around the world stage is enhanced by the volatile presidency of Donald Trump.

If freedom is to prevail over the many challenges to it, American leadership is urgently required. This was among the indelible lessons of the 20th century. But by what he has said, done and failed to do, Mr. Trump has steadily diminished America’s positive clout in global councils.

Instead of mobilizing international coalitions to take on world problems, he touts the doctrine of “every nation for itself” and has led America into isolated positions on trade, climate change and Middle East peace. Instead of engaging in creative diplomacy, he has insulted United States neighbors and allies, walked away from key international agreements, mocked multilateral organizations and stripped the State Department of its resources and role. Instead of standing up for the values of a free society, Mr. Trump, with his oft-vented scorn for democracy’s building blocks, has strengthened the hands of dictators. No longer need they fear United States criticism regarding human rights or civil liberties. On the contrary, they can and do point to Mr. Trump’s own words to justify their repressive actions.

At one time or another, Mr. Trump has attacked the judiciary, ridiculed the media, defended torture, condoned police brutality, urged supporters to rough up hecklers and — jokingly or not — equated mere policy disagreements with treason. He tried to undermine faith in America’s electoral process through a bogus advisory commission on voter integrity. He routinely vilifies federal law enforcement institutions. He libels immigrants and the countries from which they come. His words are so often at odds with the truth that they can appear ignorant, yet are in fact calculated to exacerbate religious, social and racial divisions. Overseas, rather than stand up to bullies, Mr. Trump appears to like bullies, and they are delighted to have him represent the American brand. If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.

Equally alarming is the chance that Mr. Trump will set in motion events that neither he nor anyone else can control. His policy toward North Korea changes by the day and might quickly return to saber-rattling should Pyongyang prove stubborn before or during talks. His threat to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement could unravel a pact that has made the world safer and could undermine America’s reputation for trustworthiness at a critical moment. His support of protectionist tariffs invites retaliation from major trading partners — creating unnecessary conflicts and putting at risk millions of export-dependent jobs. The recent purge of his national security team raises new questions about the quality of advice he will receive. John Bolton starts work in the White House on Monday.

What is to be done? First, defend the truth. A free press, for example, is not the enemy of the American people; it is the protector of the American people. Second, we must reinforce the principle that no one, not even the president, is above the law. Third, we should each do our part to energize the democratic process by registering new voters, listening respectfully to those with whom we disagree, knocking on doors for favored candidates, and ignoring the cynical counsel: “There’s nothing to be done.”

I’m 80 years old, but I can still be inspired when I see young people coming together to demand the right to study without having to wear a flak jacket.

We should also reflect on the definition of greatness. Can a nation merit that label by aligning itself with dictators and autocrats, ignoring human rights, declaring open season on the environment, and disdaining the use of diplomacy at a time when virtually every serious problem requires international cooperation?

To me, greatness goes a little deeper than how much marble we put in our hotel lobbies and whether we have a Soviet-style military parade. America at its best is a place where people from a multitude of backgrounds work together to safeguard the rights and enrich the lives of all. That’s the example we have always aspired to set and the model people around the world hunger to see. And no politician, not even one in the Oval Office, should be allowed to tarnish that dream.

68 thoughts on “Albright Speaks — We Should Listen

  1. Dear Jill,

    There are those on the right who keep decrying that the liberals are for “a New World Order.” There have been conservatives within the Catholic Church attempting to disparage Pope Francisco with his being party to the “New World Order” because he dared to reach out to other governmental leaders to take a stand against climate change.

    There are some Evangelicals who believe in this concept to where I have wondered if President Trump pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Accord wasn’t an overture to please this part of his base. Wikipedia even covers this subject, New World Order (conspiracy theory).

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Gronda … I think there are many on the right who are so insecure in their choices, in the rhetoric Trump feeds them, that they must find the means, usually in conspiracy theories such as the “deep state”, the “new world order” and others to justify their stance. Why, if George Soros were all that they claim he is, the man would not have had a moment’s sleep for the past 30 years! But … the current situation, I believe, is that 8 years of a very intelligent and well-reasoned president whose skin just happened to be black, has led certain elements on the far right to push back in the opposite direction, and Trump was the farthest from Obama they could find. Everything Trump does is either a) to please his base so he can have a chance to stay in office, or b) to increase his own power/wealth. It is a dangerous situation.

      As to Mr. Singer … I believe he is merely an attention-seeker.

      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ok, I believe you. But we have so much to fight for, poverty, equality, climate change, hunger in the world amongst others. I see poverty everyday, people struggling but the government of this world seems to have failed

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are absolutely right in that! And frankly, until we resolve the great divide between republican/democrat, conservative/liberal, and quash the severe income inequality in this country, I don’t see the likelihood of us doing any better. But, we cannot give up fighting for it, for if we do, then there is no possibility for progress.

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    • It depends how you interpret democracy. In the west it means electing a government who proceed to do what they want for the elected period.
      They generally campaign and make all sorts of promises in order to gain power. In democracies and all other types of rule one thing only is constant and that is the wealth pyramid. In the UK we have people sleeping in the streets, teachers having to feed children when they arrive at school, free food distribution not bad for the sixth richest economy in the world. A big effort must be made to clear the streets in Windsor for the royal wedding !

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think democracy means the same thing in definition but not in practice in the world. Despite the fact that most of the elected government has failed in delivering their campaign promises, I have hope in God, in people that we will raise a great generation that will do the right thing..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahhhh, Kertsen … I think that we were defining ‘democracy’ in the more ideological sense. Granted, reality will never match ideology, but I do believe we can do a lot better than we are at the moment.

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  2. Much of her outline of recent history is correct but she has a rather soft go gently opinion of human nature and does not attempt to point to any causes. ‘ Most people want to live in peace ‘ yes but they want more , much more, they want prosperity and if they are told others are stepping in the way they get angry , an anger that soon turns to our old nature of tribalism the modern term is fascism.
    Who has promised endless increases in prosperity ? and who have they harnessed to convince the people to believe such things are possible forever? When things go wrong at home look abroad for the culprits and in Europe we have found the immigrants , they are to blame what entitlement have they to our wealth and prosperity? Inside the tribe it’s every man for himself , and we only cling together for safety.
    Science has created a revolution and religion , the opiate of the people , is breaking down as the Arab Spring demonstrated , despotic rulers have taken up the religious cause again to keep their population under their thumb. Even within long-standing nations the stress is becoming internal , Catalonia wants its own wealth , the UK wants freedom from Europe to get richer, Scotland speaks of independence from the British Isles.
    In short ( to quote Micawber ) men and women have not changed but circumstances have and continue to do so. Because of our high intelligence and technical advance we believe we are in control of human destiny , that we can steer the ship for the good of all but there is no guarantee that this is the case especially when we all fight to control the steering wheel.
    As for interference in other nations such talk is ludicrous ; how was America colonised ? Where did the black population come from? How did Quebec start speaking French ? Who robbed the gold from Africa and brought it across the ocean ? We are an interfering species who is plundering the Amazon jungle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You bring up many good points for pondering. Yes, as we continue to fight over the steering wheel, the ship may well be headed straight for the iceberg, yes? Thanks for giving me much food for thought, my friend.

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    • You probably don’t want my take on that. But … I will share it with you anyway. I think we will get back on track, back to working together for the common good. But I do not think it will happen quickly or painlessly. I would estimate several decades to recover from the Trump presidency. So much damage has been done in only 15 months. Well, in truth, the damage began long before Trump even tossed his ugly hat in the ring … it began with the inception of the ‘tea party’, and has progressed rapidly since then. We have not reached rock-bottom yet, either. Once we do, then the only way will be up, and we will start clawing our way back to the surface. I will not live to see it, surely, but perhaps my granddaughter will. Meanwhile, we keep on fighting the good fight in hopes of making a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m assuming you mean Freedom for the KKK to walk the streets again , back to the days of strange fruit. And Liberty too stockpile as many arms as you want up to and including nukes to settle neighbourhood disputes the ‘American’ way. All the while having a racist and sexist paedophile in the White House destroying your economy, your atmosphere and the relationship with America’s closest allies. If you haven’t anything sensible to say without screaming about plots by secret organisations to take over the World, why bother? We don’t have to agree with each other on here but it’s nice to show we at least have courtesy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose it all depends on how one defines ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’. For me, I am not free if my freedom means that I am taking away from somebody else’s. And that “One-World vision”? Globalization is here to stay, Mr. Singer. No nation can afford isolationism in today’s world. Welcome to the 21st century.

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        • Hmmmm … I don’t recall saying we did. But if the world ever becomes the one you aspire to, one filled with bigotry and violence to the exclusion of humanitarian values, then it will be one that I will no longer choose to live in. If you and your ilk turn the world into that, then you may have it, for it will be a world without value to me.

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          • You’re CRAZY! That’s NOT the world that I want. I want to live my life the way I want to, exercising my Rights as codified in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. I won’t impose my beliefs on anyone. As long as I don’t harm anyone, I should be able to live as I see fit. You and your ilk, have ZERO right to impose your social views upon me!

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            • Mr. Singer … has anyone ever told you that with rights come responsibilities? Do you truly not feel any responsibility to those who, for whatever reason, are less fortunate than yourself? Has it occurred to you that there is a difference between ‘desires’ and ‘rights’? The world you envision is revolved around the ‘rights that YOU perceive as important. You perceive your right to carry a killing weapon as being of the utmost importance, while the majority of us are fighting to put food on our tables and have such basics as health care. You live in a bubble. I challenge you to step out of it and see how the majority of the world lives!

              Liked by 1 person

              • First of all, there is no such thing as “killing weapons.” People/Individuals engage in the act of killing not inanimate objects. I haven’t expressed a desire to own guns, I have expressed My and Your RIGHTS to own guns and use them for Lawful purposes. YOUR desires to disarm the People carry no weight other than you expressing your Opinion which is your Right. People like you don’t seem to understand the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights Does Not grant Rights that can be revoked. The Second Amendment “codifies” a God-given or Natural Right to self-defense. This Right is as old as mankind himself. The Rights in the Bill of Rights have their foundation in British Common Law as do most of our Rights. Even if the Second Amendment was stricken from the Bill of Rights, it DOES NOT eliminate that Right. The Constitution placed Restrictions on the Government NOT The People. Secondly, it is Your Responsibility to put food on Your table or to provide for Your healthcare. These are NOT “rights.” They are Responsibilities, YOUR responsibility. I AM the majority of America. How else do you think President Trump got elected?? The MAJORITY (until recently, “silent majority”) have had enough of this leftist dribble, the dumbing-down of America. We’re NOT going to take it any longer. And, I literally grew up “dirt-poor” so, don’t assume you know anything about me. You’re the one who needs to “see how the majority” of America lives and what we think. And, we don’t give a rats-ass about the rest of the world until AMERICANS are taken care of FIRST.

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              • Good point, Suze. The middle ground has gone, and where it once was there is naught but a wide chasm. It left when the racists decided they didn’t like having an African-American president and decided to fight against anything and everything he tried to do. Sigh.

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              • Expressing MY opinions is NOT “imposing” my views. Only to a Liberal does an opposing opinion equal “imposing a viewpoint.” I’m all for working together to solve problems and, I believe compromise is necessary for our Representative Republic (NOT Democracy). However, neither myself or the majority of Americans will “compromise” Our Constitutional Rights. The left in this country Do Not want to be subjected to ANY opinion that contradicts their own. America is sick-to-death of these attempts to silence speech the Left doesn’t like. We’re already in a “civil war” of words and ideas. I hope and pray, it doesn’t become a shooting war. I pray for you liberals and leftists because You Will Not Win.

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                • Mr. Singer, I have asked you more than once to treat my readers with respect, and you continue to speak disrespectfully. I ask you one last time, to tone it down and make your point using some degree of civility, else I shall block your comments from here on. This is a blog for serious, intelligent, civil discourse, not a mudfight.

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    • Dear Mr. Singer,

      I find the use of hyperbole, republican or democratic leaning talking points when making an assertion not very persuasive. Where are your sources? Please try for just one time, arguing without disparaging the other person for having a differing point of view.

      No one is a complete arbiter of the truth. Courtesy goes a long way. Try it on for size.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, why our leaders are choosing to ignore the counsel of retired and former military, intelligence and state, Republicans and Democrats alike, is beyond me. I agree that we are abdicating a responsibility in the world and are treating our allies and trading partners in a transactional way. We have been far from perfect in the past, invading Iraq on false information, helping overthrow a democratically elected leader in Iran, fighting for a corrupt regime in Vietnam to name a few of our poor moments. But, we have also played a key role in providing “guardrails” in the world, quoting an ambassador from an ally.

    To me, I am a believe in free global trade as it improves the overall global economy and makes us safer. Commerce between counties breaks down barriers. I feel this is being threatened and as Retired General Barry McCaffrey said recently, “the President is a severe threat to national security.” Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fully agree with you. The days when a nation can simply stand alone are long gone, if in fact they ever existed. We must find ways to share this earth in peace, else we are all doomed. I thought Albright said it well.

      Liked by 1 person

        • You are so right about that, my friend! You know that clown from Stephen King’s ‘IT’? I think we have a whole gaggle of him … oh, what was his name??? Pennywise!!! That’s it. I think we have a gaggle of Pennywises on Pennsylvania Avenue … but they are NOT penny-wise!!! Best you guys BE the example for now, rather than looking to us for one. Sigh.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I think Justin Trudeau is trying to be the voice of reason right now but unfortunately, he’s caught in the middle of a war between the provinces of Alberta and B.C. over an oil pipeline his government approved. So the Canadian media are having a field day with that. I dislike Theresa May but she’s taken the lead on opposing Putin these days as Donald Duck doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude for it. We’ll get through this.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I wasn’t aware of your pipeline controversy … I really do need to take my head out of the muck once in a while and look around at the rest of the world! Trudeau is the voice of reason without trying, and a diplomat as well. He is rather everything that Trump is NOT. As for May … I don’t have much liking for her, but I think she’s in a tough spot at the moment and really trying to do the best she can. She’s made a couple of really dumb mistakes, like calling for an election last year, but she still has 100% more sense than Trump. Yes, I suppose we will, but at what cost I’m not sure.

              Liked by 1 person

                • Agreed. One of his ‘inner circle’ should do the noble thing and sacrifice him/herself to remove him — that person would go down in history as a true hero. This circus has lasted too long and we are tired of seeing clowns doing acrobatics. Sigh.

                  Liked by 2 people

                    • Nah … they’re all idiots, so it’s hard to say. I do know that if I were Sarah Huckabee Sanders (press secretary), I would feel the urge every day, for him making me tell so many lies that I had lost my self-respect. But perhaps she had none to begin with. I think Kellyanne would be the perfect one to do it, for she is a nutcase anyway! Or, perhaps his own daughter Ivanka, if she gets tired of the sexual innuendos he directs toward her.

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  4. I read that Ms. Albright was a Satanist? She and the Podestas were quite close for sure and of course that dreadful Hils. They are always out to convince us they are not part of the bankers cabals but …? Cheers Jamie

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  5. Hear Hear Madam. Just mention about the US allies who are no angels and you’ll have the mix right. For America to be Great again you need to have a Government that cares about the people, all the people, not just the rich ones. You have to abandon Trump and set the previous policies in place for dealing with global warming, severely look at controlling weapons in private ownership and ensure that the NRA don’t have a stranglehold moneywise on State officials.No protection for public servants who act against the best interests of the people.No longer turn a blind eye when an ally does wrong as in the case of Saudi. You should not prop dictators up even at the expense of Russia stepping in and doing so.
    Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are right in all you say, and that is only the beginning. While the U.S. has certainly done some good things, I wonder if it is a fair statement to say that it was ever ‘great’. How does one define the word? And do we all define it the same? I think that for the wealthy whose investments are tied up in coal and oil, today the U.S. is probably about as great to them as it ever has been. To the 99.6% of us who are trying to stay afloat, perhaps not so much so. Crooked politicians will always exist, but today I honestly believe we have more of those sort in office that at any other point in U.S. history. The fixes will be slow, tedious and for some, painful, yet if they do not come, and soon, the U.S. will be, for all intents and purposes, a dictatorship by the end of 2020.
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, Jill, I’ve read the article. Albright is either senile or indulging in blatant CIA propaganda. Could not disagree more on just about every point she makes. The only thing she is right about is the rise of totalitarianism globally and if anything can be blamed for that it’s growing and massive US military and political intervention in everybody else’s affairs. Every nation for itself is indeed how it should be, except that the bullies, America being number one, can’t stay out of every nation’s affairs, can they. I notice she does not mention a number one fascist state, Israel, nor the great Middle Eastern US ally, totalitarian and vile Saudi Arabia in her diatribe. Assad is a tyrant but not King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud? Saudi Arabia is illegally and with US weaponry, systematically destroying Yemen, massacring helpless civilians while all along beheading anyone he thinks is against him, or having rape victims jailed and lashed for “fornication”. What a sweetheart! Assad is defending his country against US backed proxy terrorist forces. You tell me, who’s the tyrant? Yes, that article made me see red, and I’ve been trying hard not to go there lately.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey Sha’Tara … I’m afraid you and I will just have to respectfully ‘agree to disagree’ on this one, for I think that, whether everyone likes it or not, globalization is here to stay. No country can afford to be isolationist, to be ‘every country for itself’ in this day of international trade cooperation, and more to the point the threat of nuclear weapons being used by dictators. Add to that, the fact that I see us as being first a part of the human race, and then a member of a specific nation/society, we cannot simply turn our backs on crimes against humanity, wherever they occur.

      I am sorry the article made you see red, however, for I treasure your friendship and truly did not intend to raise your hackles. Peace?

      Like

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