Madeleine Albright

Excerpts from a Monitor breakfast on: capturing Saddam Hussein, North Korea, and foreign fighters in Iraq

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Madeleine Albright was the nation's 64th Secretary of State and before that United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

The Secretary has a B.A. from Wellesley College in Political Science. She studied at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and earned her Masters and Doctorate from Columbia University.

Today, Secretary Albright is a principal in her own strategic consulting firm, the Albright Group, as well as a professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and a distinguished scholar at the University of Michigan. She also serves on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange.

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On the view of America she finds in travels overseas:

"I have never seen in my lifetime the United States at such a low level of regard. We are now viewed - and I am quoting - as a rogue state, as a country that has no ability to understand ... how we affect other countries and do not take into consideration other countries' national interests at all in creating our own which, from my perspective, weakens our argument for national interests. So I think there is a genuine question as to their (Republicans') national security credentials."

On the failure to capture or kill Osama Bin laden and Saddam Hussein:

"Saddam Hussein's continued life is more of a problem than Osama bin Laden's. Because if we look at what has been happening with the insurgency [in Iraq] and stories in the last few days [about] funds that Saddam Hussein somehow has access to ... in many ways he has a lot of levers he was used to pulling. The question is whether the strings are attached... His continued life is creating huge problems. And while the [Bush] administration is basically saying none of this matters any more, I think it does matter. Whether they capture him there is no way of telling. Osama bin Laden ...I think it would be better if Osama bin Laden were captured. That is what they promised us and it hasn't happened."

On the Bush administration's North Korea policy:

"To some extent, the North Korea policy is a victim of internal fighting within the administration....President Bush in his speech in Asia made some interesting, more kind of forward-moving statements about North Korea, the desire to go forward with the six party talks. And the question is, now, why are they not going forward? I think it is important to have face-to-face dialog with the North Koreans. It is not appeasement to talk to them about this. They are going to be, if we don't do something, if they are not already, a nuclear power - which is unacceptable.... I think it is the most dangerous place in the world."

On the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive defense:

"The doctrine of preemption depends on accurate intelligence. That is [its] Achilles heel. It does not mean that countries do not have the right to self defense. The question then also becomes whether it was smart to make it a doctrine because it is an inherent right and when you make it a doctrine you then not only raise the question of when is it accurate to use, [but also] what happens if other countries decide they have the right to pre-empt whenever? ... I think it is not a good campaign issue because I think it is going to lead to very serious questions and we haven't had a dialog on it. It shouldn't be a bumper sticker issue."

On foreign fighters in Iraq:

" I am having trouble, because I have the same information you all have, trying to figure out how many foreign fighters are really in there. Clearly, there is kind of an unholy alliance of everyone who dislikes us within the inside -- those who are pro-Saddam, various tribal groups, and then an influx of people from the outside. I did not believe up front there was any connection between Al Qaeda, Osama bid Laden, and Saddam Hussein. I do think that now it is possible ... that there are various connections in various groups of terrorists coming in from the outside and that you potentially have the kind of situation that existed in Afghanistan when the Soviets pulled out."

On the Bush administration's so called "road map" approach to Middle East peace:

"As far as I am concerned, the road map is in the glove compartment. I think the point here is that the road map is an approach but not much is happening on it."

On reforms at the New York Stock Exchange:

"I think progress has been made with (interim Chairman) John Reed but there is a lot of work that has to be done and I think all of us that are on the board fully realize that."

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