By CHRIS INGRAM, A UPI Outside View commentary
WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2003 (UPI) — Madeleine Albright is on a mission.
In the past few weeks she has circled the globe attacking the policies of the Bush Administration. Nothing President Bush has done is sacred from Albright’s scorn. The range of criticism spans from his leadership on the war in Iraq and efforts to fight global terrorism to U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba.
Never mind that the terms “foreign policy” and “genius” were rarely if ever muttered in the same sentence when describing the Clinton administration — which Albright served as secretary of State. Albright apparently believes Bush, Powell, Rice and company are to blame for the ills of the world and that Clinton and friends were excellent stewards of the helm with all the right answers.
While most Americans likely couldn’t cite a single foreign policy success of the Clinton-Albright foreign policy team, one thing is certain — international quagmires were a hallmark of the duo.
From the misguided effort to bring peace to Somalia which led to the unnecessary and horrific deaths of U.S. troops, to their failed efforts to bring peace to the Middle East, and their absent response to mounting global terrorism, Clinton-Albright were lackluster at best.
The bombing of the USS Cole, the first attack on the World Trade Center, and two U.S. embassy bombings in Africa — those are the legacies of the Clinton administration’s foreign policy expertise. They did nothing to combat growing Islamic-terrorism prior to these tragedies. And lest we not forget, Clinton’s response afterward: nothing. Unless of course you count dropping a few missiles in a camel stable in Afghanistan in a mindless attempt to “get” Osama bin Laden.
So now Albright is taking her experience addressing global terrorism and as a Mideast peace problem-solver on a World Tour. While she isn’t espousing how she would handle the current situation (thankfully), she is pointing out all of her perceived failures of Bush policy. The question is, why?
The answer is easy. Like most things in Washington, to find the answer, follow the money.
In this case, it is in books. Albright’s new autobiography, “Madam Secretary,” is just out and, apparently, her public relations folks at Time Warner Books believe criticism creates controversy and controversy sells books.
Her recent attack on the Bush administration’s policy toward Cuba came last week when she was in Miami. And her statements that U.S. policy in Iraq, and the alleged lack of coalition building prior to the war — specifically lacking French support — came in, you guessed it, France.
Offering to French radio that current U.S. policy “is not good for America, not good for the world,” her criticism in an attempt to increase book sales is appalling. Some have likened her behavior to that of Jane Fonda while hanging out with the enemy in Vietnam — but Fonda, from all appearances, did not have a financial stake in her words. Albright should not be easily forgiven for her comments given their not-so-veiled intent to help increase book sales and Madam Secretary’s pocket book.
What is next? Albright in Berlin declaring President Reagan was wrong to declare “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”? Only if it means a few more book sales.
— Chris Ingram is president of 411 Communications, an public opinion research and communications firm.
— United Press International’s “Outside View” commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.
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