March 28, 2022
Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright died Wednesday at the age of 84. We send our condolences to Albright’s family and friends.
Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright died Wednesday at the age of 84. We send our condolences to Albright’s family and friends.
Many other portraits of Albright emphasize her role as a “trailblazer” and highlight eccentricities like her pin collection. But Revolver will pay Albright the best tribute of all: Taking her seriously as an American diplomat who shaped U.S. policy for decades to come.
If women were in charge, the old canard goes, then peace would break out all over the earth. Is that actually true? Madeleine Albright is a good case study to test out this hypothesis.
Unfortunately, Madeleine Albright’s long career represents all the failures and mistakes that, in just thirty years, have taken America from its superpower apex to the brink of imperial collapse.
Be it in Eastern Europe or the Middle East or East Asia, a United States that followed the exact opposite of Albright’s foreign policy vision would almost certainly be a richer, happier, and less divided nation than the fading colossus America has become in 2022.
Albright embraced America’s disastrous pattern of global interventionism
As Christopher Caldwell wrote of Albright back in 2003, “For her, every conflict is a replay of the Munich conference of 1938, with a camp of the ‘farsighted’ on one hand and a bunch of ‘appeasers’ on the other.” The best way to be farsighted, it turns out, was to be aggressive in using U.S. force abroad. Albright enjoyed referring to America as “the indispensable nation,” reflecting an assumption that every dispute and every crisis the world over needed, and would benefit from, U.S. meddling and oversight.
According to her own 2003 memoir, during her days as Secretary of State Albright feuded with then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell, arguing in favor of more frequent and aggressive use of American military power abroad: “What’s the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can’t use it?”
For more than two decades, Albright’s toxic enthusiasm for military force has been the closest thing there is to conventional wisdom in Washington. It is not only the attitude that gave us the Iraq War and 20 years in Afghanistan, but also missile strikes in Syria, undeclared drone war in Yemen, and useless regime change in Libya.
Albright’s Kosovo war made America a hypocrite and poisoned relations with Russia and China
Albright was born in Czechoslovakia one year before its dismemberment by Adolf Hitler on the eve of World War 2. The memory of her birthplace’s destruction shaped her perspective for the rest of her life. Since Hitler devoured Czechoslovakia because the Allies were too weak to resist him, the lesson in diplomacy was that the world was full of predatory leaders who needed to be stop with aggressive displays of force.
The Washington Post explained Albright’s thinking at the time when it came to Slobodan Milosevic:
Albright’s thinking about Milosevic, aides close to her said, has been driven in large part by events of half a century ago in Europe. “Madeleine Albright, more than anyone else in this administration, is driven by her own biography,” said one senior U.S. diplomat. “Time and again, she raises the sights to the moral and historic issues.” She believes deeply that Adolf Hitler and other tyrants could have been deterred if confronted early, and has applied that view to her diplomacy in Yugoslavia.
Albright thought Milosevic was a “schoolyard bully” who would “back down” after “a few punches were thrown.” Sound familiar?
She was such a strong advocate of U.S. intervention in Kosovo that the conflict was nicknamed “Albright’s War.”
Yet ironically, Albright’s desire to stop “another Hitler” ended darkly with a strange mirror reenactment of the history of her own homeland. In 1938, Adolf Hitler held a great power conference at Munich in order to force Czechoslovakia to surrender its Sudetenland border region in response to violent agitation by the region’s German minority. In 1999, meanwhile, Albright masterminded a conference at Rambouillet in order to force Yugoslavia to surrender its Kosovo border region after violent agitation by the region’s Albanian minority.
Albright’s diplomacy “worked” in the sense that Milosevic fell from power, and, in 2008, Kosovo became an independent country under U.S. patronage. Yet America has suffered from the diplomatic after-effects of that intervention ever since. UN Security Council Resolution 1244, approved in 1999 at the end of the Kosovo conflict, guaranteed the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, but in 2008 America nakedly violated that resolution in endorsing Kosovo’s unilateral independence.
America’s dismemberment of Serbia provided Russia its moral justification for breaking off Russian-speaking portions of eastern Ukraine. Many experts have since argued that Putin’s distrust of America and NATO is rooted in their aggressive actions in Kosovo.
Russia’s understanding of the 78-day NATO war against Serbia is quite different from that of many Western countries, which see it as a humanitarian intervention that prevented, or was even a response to, genocide. Western accounts place little emphasis on the lack of United Nations Security Council approval for the strikes or on the loss of civilian lives. If you look at the most popular history portal on the Russian internet, which is Kremlin-funded, you will read that the crisis in Kosovo was not caused by the Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic deliberately stirring up nationalist tensions or ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians and others. Instead, according to this site, it was caused by the United States, with the support of NATO and some European Union countries, which were exploiting Russia’s post-Soviet weakness and destroying its longtime ally, Serbia. Russia has long seen the Balkans as falling within its sphere of influence, and its fraternal relations with Serbia have historically been crucial to its exercise of power in this region. … This view has become more entrenched over the last 23 years, with Putin depicting the war as an illegal and illegitimate act by NATO that deliberately humiliated Russia. Yugoslavia has been a constant reference point in Putin’s and Lavrov’s speeches, especially in relation to Ukraine; for example, during the Euromaidan revolution of 2013-2014 that overthrew Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych, a corrupt and nepotistic Russian ally, Putin focused on Yugoslavia. He painted the NATO bombing, and later U.S. support for the Bulldozer Revolution that overthrew Milosevic, as a precursor of Ukraine’s Euromaidan—framing Yugoslavia as the first color revolution. … Distracting from Russia’s own contravention of international norms, Putin responded to Western criticism of the annexation of Crimea by invoking Western disregard for international law when they bombed Belgrade or intervened in Kosovo. In a 2016 speech at the Valdai Discussion Club, Putin argued: “Bombing Belgrade was clearly an intervention outside the norms and rules of international law. … The United States did it unilaterally. You spoke about Crimea. What about Crimea? [It is nothing compared to] what you did in Yugoslavia.”
Russia wasn’t the only country whose relations took a long-term hit thanks to Kosovo. China strongly opposed America’s partition of Serbia, and just days ago its foreign ministry cited the bombing of its embassy in Belgrade as justification for a dismissive attitude towards NATO.
Albright’s NATO expansion set the stage for long-term conflict with Russia
A whole month before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Revolver warned that the reason war was imminent was because of America’s aggressive desire to expand the anti-Russia NATO alliance until it completely covered Russia’s western border. We weren’t alone in our assessment. Distinguished University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer warned seven years ago that NATO expansion was a direct cause of Russia’s belligerent behavior toward both Ukraine and Georgia. Instead of being an alliance against Soviet expansion, NATO has mutated into an anchor that drags the U.S. into conflicts it should have nothing to do with, and which don’t remotely involve its fundamental security.
READ MORE: The Globalist American Empire Would Rather Risk Nuclear War Than Admit Its Own Arrogance
Madeleine Albright was a central figure in this toxic evolution of NATO from preventer to cause of international war. In 1997, she delivered testimony before Congress aggressively supporting the addition of former Warsaw Pact nations to NATO, on the ridiculous grounds that expanding NATO would not antagonize Russia (which was loudly protesting at the time):
Like any good insurance policy, NATO enlargement will certainly carry costs. Those costs are outlined in the report we presented to the Congress in February. Secretary Cohen will talk more about the military costs and there will also be a small cost to the NATO civil budget, although it is not possible to estimate the precise amount at this time. As Secretary of State, I am equally concerned about the costs of a decision not to enlarge. … It might be said, rightly or wrongly, that we blocked the aspirations of NATO’s would-be allies solely because Russia objected. Confidence would crumble in central Europe, leading to a search for security by other means, including arms build-ups and increased tensions between neighbors. The worst elements in Russia would be encouraged, secure in their view that Europe can be divided into new spheres of influence and that confrontation with the West pays off. There would be little chance of building a constructive partnership between Russia and NATO. … As you know, Russia would also like us to make absolute commitments in the charter about the deployment of nuclear and conventional forces on the territory of new members. But we will not compromise on this issue. … Let me also stress that the point of the NATO-Russia agreement is not to convince Russia to agree to NATO enlargement. We do not need Russia to agree to enlargement. The point is to advance a goal that is worthwhile in its own right: our interest in promoting the integration of a democratic Russia and acting together to meet the challenges of the next century. I do not expect the Russian government to change its mind about NATO’s plans to take in new members. We must face this fact squarely, but we should also recognize it for what it is: an issue of perception, not of military reality. NATO poses no danger to Russia, just as Russia poses no danger to NATO. We do no favor to Russia’s democrats to suggest otherwise.
It is hard to imagine anyone else other than Madeleine Albright who perfectly encapsulated the combination of arrogance and delusion that drove America to create an avoidable catastrophe in Eastern Europe. Albright ridiculously claimed that expanding an anti-Russia alliance is needed to “build a constructive partnership” with Russia. She claimed the alliance is not anti-Russia, yet treats its concerns as entirely unworthy of any discussion. She even treated agreements to limit the deployment of nuclear weapons as entirely non-negotiable. Russia can complain all it wants, she said, before gloating that there is nothing the country can do to block NATO’s enlargement entirely on America’s terms.
Albright’s Iraq policies paved the way for the 2003 invasion, and set the model of America’s ruinous global sanctions regime
Contrary to what many think, the push for a second war with Iraq was not dreamed up after 9/11 by the Bush Administration. Instead, the pressure for regime change was built up for many years beforehand by Albright and other hawks in the Clinton Administration. Besides keeping Desert Storm-era sanctions in place, Albright also backed 1998’s Operation Desert Fox bombing campaign, as well as the Iraq Liberation Act, which made regime change America’s official policy toward Saddam’s government and spent millions to train and equip Iraqi opposition groups. When booed at Ohio State for her support of continued bombing in Iraq, Albright used the usual war hawk argument of accusing skeptics of being supporters of Saddam.
But Albright didn’t just help orchestrate the steady buildup toward an unnecessary, destructive war. She also helped set and defend America’s pattern of using ineffective, destructive sanctions to show displeasure with foreign governments.
In 1996, while Albright was serving as UN Ambassador, 60 Minutes pressed her about the impact of UN sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. While the sanctions were initially enacted after the invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. kept them in force long afterwards in order to keep pressure on Saddam’s regime, causing a drastic rise in poverty and malnutrition, as well as downstream impacts like a shortage of medical supplies. Reports in the ’90s estimated that hundreds of thousands of children died prematurely due to the sanctions. If that was true, 60 Minutes asked, was the cost really worth it? Rather than take issue with the figures, Albright simply bit the bullet: Yes, the deaths were worth it.
Sanctions on Iraq did absolutely nothing to weaken Saddam Hussein’s regime. In the two and a half decades since, they have similarly failed to have any impact on ruling regimes in North Korea, Iran, or Venezuela. At the moment they are failing to do anything to dislodge Vladimir Putin in Russia. Sanctions only cause poverty and misery, while allowing Beltway Brahmins like Albright to posture about “doing something.”
Perhaps it makes total sense that such a feminized, passive-aggressive foreign policy tool was instituted by a female “trailblazer” with the childish view of international relations as a bunch of schoolchildren playing in the schoolyard with the United States as the schoolmarm spanking the “schoolyard bullies.”
Albright was a neurotic who saw “fascism” lurking everywhere, in need of aggressive confrontation
Ever since Donald Trump descended the escalator in 2015, America’s most powerful media and tech outlets have been shrieking about the danger of “fascism” in America, and have used this phantom fascism to justify ever-more-restrictive crackdowns on free speech and freedom of association. And Albright, for her part, was proud to lead the chorus in yelping about a fascist danger lurking everywhere, at home and abroad.
For Albright, fascism was indeed lurking everywhere, and the leaders of enemy states were nascent Hitlers in waiting. Fear of lurking fascism drove Albright’s desire to intervene in Kosovo and to contain Saddam Hussein. More recently, it motivated her attacks on domestic political foes. In 2019, in the twilight of her life, Albright published “Fascism: A Warning”, where she argues that fascism “now presents a more virulent threat to international peace and justice than at any time since the end of World War II.” Naturally it’s all Donald Trump’s fault:
“I am drawn again to my conclusion that a Fascist is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have. Throughout my adult life, I have felt that America could be counted on to put obstacles in the way of any such leader, party, or movement. I never thought that, at age eighty, I would begin to have doubts. The shadow looming over these pages is, of course, that of Donald Trump. … Trump is the first anti-democratic president in modern U.S. history. On too many days, beginning in the early hours, he flaunts his disdain for democratic institutions, the ideals of equality and social justice, civil discourse, civic virtues, and America itself. If transplanted to a country with fewer democratic safeguards, he would audition for dictator, because that is where his instincts lead. This frightening fact has consequences. The herd mentality is powerful in international affairs. Leaders around the globe observe, learn from, and mimic one another. They see where their peers are heading, what they can get away with, and how they can augment and perpetuate their power. They walk in one another’s footsteps, as Hitler did with Mussolini—and today the herd is moving in a Fascist direction.
Of course, a lack of concern “with the rights of others” and a willingness “to use violence and whatever other means to achieve its goals” would describe both the foreign and domestic policy of the Globalist American Empire. But for Albright, just like the rest of the D.C. elite class, the “fascist” danger was always among her foes, who needed to be crushed.
Albright is a leading example of how the diversity agenda quashes reasoned thought
The headlines say it all:
Madeleine Albright spent four years as Secretary of State at the absolute apex of America’s global influence and prestige. The consequences of the decisions she made reverberate today and are absolutely central to the biggest geopolitical crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thus, Albright deserves to be taken seriously and to have her legacy critically assessed. But instead, Albright’s personal legacy is submerged beneath America’s Diversity-Inclusion-Equity complex. After her death, the hashtag #RestInPower began trending on Twitter. An important and arguably disastrous secretary of state has had her life reduced to just another “First Woman to X.”
Such is life in the Globalist American Empire.
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