Madeleine Albright as Commencement Speaker: Not at All Bright
It seems everyone has missed the real problem with Madeleine Albright as commencement speaker, including Meghan Daum (“Scripps College’s baffling crusade for simple thinking,” May 12), and Rosanna Xia (“War criminal or role model?” May 9). While both articles shrugged at Albright’s record, and student objections took on standard PC tones, the reason Albright is no role model goes even deeper down the rabbit hole than war criminality.
Let’s recall that, more than anyone else, Albright pushed for a universal military attack against Yugoslavia, such that it was dubbed “Maddie’s War” (remember her in full combat regalia on the cover of TIME). But it’s the spoils of war that make Albright particularly contemptible. Few know that her investment firm, Albright Capital Management, had aggressively bid for — and was shortlisted to win — privatization of Kosovo’s state telecom company PTK (which wouldn’t be up for grabs without her war to wrest Kosovo from Serbia in the first place). Never mind that the same year (2012) Kosovo’s privatization chief Dino Asanaj had been stabbed 11 times (”suicide” in Kosovospeak), and that a sister company, Albright Stonebridge Group, already owned shares in PTK’s only competitor — which could have “destroyed all market competition in the fledgling [non]nation,” Nathan Wellman wrote last February.
It was only eventually, after being advised how icky it all looked, that Albright — that paragon of female achievement — bowed out of this grubby profiteering. (Yet when Kosovo opposition parties dared try to deny Albright her spoils, U.S. officialdom accused them of the one thing we’re told Albanians by definition just can’t be: anti-American.)
Three months earlier, there was a bizarre and telling incident in the Czech Republic. In late October 2012, Albright was signing books at a Prague bookstore when she was confronted by some Czech anti-war activists holding photos of the devastation she visited upon Yugoslavian civilians and their infrastructure — targets unprecedented in the history of traditional warfare. “Get out!” she screamed repeatedly, and followed up with, “Disgusting Serbs.” The video is still available on YouTube.
Is it proper statecraft, when taking one’s country to war in an outside ethno-territorial conflict, for a high official to harbor hatred and perhaps even a vendetta against one of the sides?
Indeed, Albright’s having achieved being the first female secretary of State is regarded as a virtue in and of itself. Rarely is it considered that this ‘accomplishment’ — facilitated by a nod from Hillary to husband Bill — could be an eternal disgrace to womankind. Hillary voters, take note.
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