Kurt Vulkor on Madeleine Albright’s passing

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright passed away today at the age of 84. We talked about Albright’s legacy with former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, who knew and worked with Albright.

“It’s sad to see her passing,” he said. He knew her before she became Secretary of State. He said she came here as an immigrant as a child from Czechoslovakia.

Her personal relationships with people in that part of the world really helped cement their relationship with the United States as a whole,” which he said made senators and the administration feel confident about NATO enlargement.

He said she published an article giving the rationale for NATO enlargement. He said it greatly improved senators’ understanding of what NATO enlargement means and how it benefits the U.S. and the world.

“She was very tough,” he said. “You had to be tough,” to be a woman in her position. But she was also able to “forge good relationships with people even after bumping elbows with them,” he said.

He said she was a proponent of military intervention.

“She understood quite well that diplomacy works when it is backed by force when there is structure and power underneath it. That’s when diplomacy is most successful.”

He said she supported the intervention in Bosnia to stop ethnic cleansing there, and then supporting the diplomacy which follows it.

“She was a classical realist diplomat where you have to have an alignment of your national power with your diplomatic purposes in order to achieve an outcome.”

“She was able, as an American, to understand our country, our purposes, our values in the world, but she was also able to put herself in the shoes of the people she was talking to, and understand what their concerns are, what their mentality is, what they’re afraid of,” he said.



Kurt Volker, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO

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