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Politics and Government

Madeleine Albright talks about political climate during SU appearance

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright came to Syracuse University to talk about the current political climate in Washington and share stories from her career. Albright served as secretary of state from 1997-2001. She talked about the dangers of being a diplomat in the Foreign Service and the worst day she experienced as secretary of state.

“August 7th, 1998, when our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown up," Albright said. "Of various things I never thought I would do is bring American bodies home, covered in flags and then try to explain to their families what had happened.”    

A small group of student protesters stood outside of Hendricks Chapel on campus, where Albright gave her speech. Collin Chambers is a 22-year-old grad student at SU and admitted he had to do his research first on Albright.

“She supported economic sanctions against Iraq in the mid-90’s,” Chamber said. “She also was a strong proponent of NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia.”

Albright said she believes the U.S. should be engaged with what is going on in the rest of the world.

“I do think the worst thing, from my perspective, is if the United States completely sits something out and lets countries that we don’t have dealings with, deal with something, and then we have to come in and pick the pieces up later," Albright said. "I am an activist, there’s no question about that.”

Growing up in Czechoslovakia at the end of World War II, Albright says she saw the effects of the United States defeating the Nazis, and communists, with the help of the Soviet Union, retaining control of the country.

“Watching when America was involved made a difference and when America was not involved, also made a difference," Albright said. "That’s the baggage that I came with. I believe in America being engaged internationally.”

She said compromise is the most important element of democracy and is troubled by the current Congress. She encourages them to reach across the aisle.