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The World According to Madeleine Albright

Guest: Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State, former UN ambassador and diplomat, head of Albright Stonebridge Group, and seven-time New York Times best-selling author

We take a global affairs world tour with Secretary Madeleine Albright, one of the most influential US global protagonists in modern history.

On Altamar’s latest podcast episode, Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State, former UN ambassador and diplomat, and head of Albright Stonebridge Group, joins hosts Peter Schechter and Muni Jensen for a global tour to discuss the world’s most pressing problems. Secretary Albright analyzes America’s political and social instability, China’s rising power, and everything in between. And, she minces no words: now calling Donald Trump a fascist, something she has refrained from doing in the past. “I am now calling him a fascist, except that I think he’d like it so much. So, I won’t,” explains Secretary Albright. 

We address the question that we posed in our last Altamar episode with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ President Ivo Daalder, “Can America make a return back to the global table?” Secretary Albright, a self-described ‘optimist who worries’ believes that the US can recover its place at the decision makers’ table, but that table is vastly changed from four years ago, and no longer seats the same players. “It’s not [the role of the] head at the table to tell everybody what to do, but to really listen to what they have to say so that we can act together,” says Secretary Madeleine Albright.

Our world tour begins with a conversation about the influence of China and whether the next years will constitute the “decade of China,” as Altamar’s Peter Schechter describes. “The US-China relationship is going to be dominant in so many areas,” notes Secretary Albright. She analyzes the fierce competition in trade, disagreements over intellectual property, the parading of military might, and human rights issues. She also describes areas of cooperation and necessary partnership, such as combatting climate change, addressing any future pandemics, and coordinating nuclear proliferation.

We then move to Russia, where Secretary Albright echoes Ivo Daalder’s sentiments of the very different and difficult relationship that President Biden will now have with Vladimir Putin, providing a stark contrast to previous White House-Kremlin relationships. “Putin got a free ride under the last administration. And we need to remember that we actually are dealing with a former KGB agent who knows how to use a number of subversive tactics,” notes Secretary Albright.

Secretary Albright, an immigrant from the Czech Republic, warns of rising nationalism in Europe, ongoing tension in the Middle East, the expansion of terrorism in Africa, and problems in Latin America. There are no easy answers in these complex regions, but the former Secretary of State stresses the importance of multilateral cooperation.

Known as ‘Multilateral Madeleine’, Secretary Albright describes her trust in multilateral organizations when it comes to addressing pressing issues such as climate change, terrorism, human rights, political and social polarization, among many. “It’s imperative that we all recognize the importance of multilateral organizations and the need for more than one country to work together to solve a problem,” explains the former UN ambassador and notes, “Let’s call it partnership, and that’s what we should be doing.” For the full conversation with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, check out our latest Altamar episode, available wherever you get your podcasts. You can download it here.

Image Source: Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

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Episode 94