Monitor Breakfast

Selected quotations from a Monitor breakfast with Madeleine Albright.

Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State in the second Clinton administration, is now a principal in her own strategic consulting firm, the Albright Group, as well as a professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. She also serves as chairman of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, which works to promote democracy worldwide. Here are excerpts of her remarks:

On US relations with North Korea:

"We were looking at signing verifiable agreements with them. Nobody would ever have done anything that wasn't verifiable. And they expected, frankly, that this administration would pick up the cards that we had left on the table. So I think that was a real damper to them as well as (South Korean President) Kim Dae Jung. They had been briefed before we left on where we were. And then all of a sudden they are part of the 'axis of evil'. That is not to say they are not bad ... but I do think from their perspective, they could think that cards were left on the table that were not picked up."

On the current state of US foreign relations:

"At this stage, I think we are in a very flux kind of period where this administration is viewing everything through the Iraq terrorism prism and the rest of the countries are not. And not all the problems have to do with that. I think we are in a huge transitional phase. "

On US policy toward Iraq:

"I think [Bush] has, after his UN speech, [been] trying to follow out some other string. I think his meeting with Hans Blix [yesterday] was a very important meeting. So before we decide to blow up the box without knowing exactly what is in it, and the sparks (go) flying out into an area that is filled with gasoline figuratively and literally, I think it is worth trying to explore these other areas.

"I was very hawkish on doing something about Iraq. I just think we need to look at the when and the how afterward..."

On the current chill in US-German relations:

"I found Germany, and so did President Clinton, a very helpful supporter of the things we were doing ... What this is part of, I think, is the sense in Europe that we are not paying attention to them ... I hope very much that this can be made up. It is kind of ridiculous. Germany is the biggest country in Europe. I don't know if this a personal thing or not, but they need to get over it. They do and we do. Because Germany is the basis of, or should be the basis of, a very strong pillar of US-European relations. I think it is unfortunate, obviously, when anyone's campaign is to run against us."

On the link the Bush administration sees between Al Qaeda and Iraq:

"I think the thing that makes some people suspicious about this ...(is the fact that) there were people in this administration and some of the people who are associated with them who had a thing about Iraq before any of this started. They had their agenda on Iraq. They tried to push their agenda on us at the end of our term and they are people who felt that way during the first Bush administration. So it makes you a little suspicious about what they are doing. And it is hard to tell. I am sure Saddam Hussein supports terrorists, there is no question in my mind. I am sure Al Qaeda is doing everything it is doing. But I haven't seen the connection."

On the Clinton administration's foreign policy:

"We probably did too much. We saw every part of the world as kind of fitting into what a new international system would look like and it was necessary to engage and to travel and to receive people and be interested in what is going on. I traveled a million, 38 thousand miles. I have been to 120 countries. I do believe America needs to be out there but not always in a belligerent way."

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