Published on Monday, May 20, 2002 by Agence France Presse
Ex-Secretary of State Albright Rips Bush's Foreign Policy Ahead of European Trip
Two days before President George W. Bush's departure for Europe, a former US secretary of state delivered a scathing sendoff, accusing his foreign policy team of suffering from "untreated bipolar disorder."
"Because on some important issues, the Bush foreign policy team seems to be suffering from untreated bipolar disorder," said Albright, who served in the administration of former president Bill Clinton, in her commencement address at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
"They talk about the importance of our alliances in Europe and Asia and then fail to employ our alliances on matters of mutual security concern.
"They advocate a more open system of world trade, while imposing protectionist measures on steel, and backing vastly increased subsidies for America's corporate farms.
"They support a heightened effort to save lives by fighting AIDS, while placing unwise restrictions on life-saving programs to promote reproductive health.
"They warn about the dangers posed by ballistic missiles, but needlessly delayed negotiations with North Korea on how to reduce that very threat."
Under pressure from struggling US steel companies and the farm lobby, the Bush administration has slapped import duties on some imported steel products as high as 30 percent and backed a bill that dramatically boosts agricultural subsidies.
The criticism came ahead of Bush's trip to Europe, during which he will visit Germany, France and Russia for talks on arms control, trade and the future of the war on terror launched in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
The US president will also take part in a NATO summit in Italy.
Albright also took issue with Bush's policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan, his stance on human rights, as well as his abandonment of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and an accord setting up the International Criminal Court.
"They talk about the importance of the rule of law, but seem allergic to treaties designed to strengthen the rule of law in areas such as money laundering, biological weapons, crimes against humanity, and the environment," the former secretary of state said of Bush administration officials.
"They criticize Cuba's lack of democracy, while praising autocrats from Malaysia and other lands.
"This split personality is also evident in Afghanistan, where one day they are ridiculing nation-building and the next proposing a new Marshall Plan; and in the Middle East, where the signals they have sent have varied day by day.
"The root of the problem is that one half the administration truly believes in ... international diplomacy and law; while the other half is less convinced," Albright concluded.
"They see alliances and agreements not as platforms for progress, but rather as restraints that may hold America back or tie America down."
Asked to comment on the address, State Department spokeswoman Jo-Anne Prokopowicz said she did not see the speech and, therefore, could not talk about its substance.
But she said former secretaries of state are entitled to their own opinions.
"As we know, Americans are able to express themselves," Prokopowicz told AFP. "She has the right to do that, that is part of our democracy."
Copyright © 2002 AFP