The University Record, October 22, 2001

Albright supports fight against terror

By Martin May

Albright delivered the McInally Memorial Lecture in the Business School's Hale Auditorium. (Photo by Bill Wood, U-M Photo Services)
Madeleine Albright, a distinguished scholar of the William Davidson Institute in the School of Business Administration, focused on the current fight against terrorism at the Business School’s William K. McInally Memorial Lecture Oct. 16.

The former U.S. Secretary of State voiced her full support for the “carefully targeted military strike on Afghanistan” ordered by President George W. Bush. “We made clear that our adversaries are those who create and facilitate terrorist acts, not the people of Afghanistan or adherents of Islam,” she said.

“Our interest is to end the use of Afghanistan territory as a safe haven and training ground for terrorists—that is a call every nation should endorse.” All countries have the right to defend themselves against terrorist acts, Albright said, but “no single country has the right to dictate the form of Afghanistan’s government.”

“My hope is that nations around the world will, together with the U.N., work with representatives of all major ethnic communities to develop a peaceful process for self-determination in Afghanistan. The people of that country deserve relief from the fright of terror,” Albright said.

She disputed the argument that the United States held some sort of responsibility in terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Such claims, she said, are “balderdash.”

Albright noted that, “today, the U.S. and Russia are virtual allies.” Also, China and the United States are together in the fight against terrorism—quite a contrast from the tension between the two nations earlier this year.

Albright warned that Americans must not fall into the trap of making the fight against terrorism a clash of civilizations. We must not allow the terrorists to upset the international framework, and we must continue to look at Arab states individually, not monolithically. “It gives the terrorists too much credit to say we are in a bipolar world and the terrorists are at one of the poles.”

Albright also discussed globalization and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, Albright said “at the root of the stalemate is fear.” This fear arises out of Israelis fearing “every backpack they see could contain a bomb,” and Palestinians fearing they will never have a homeland.

Albright argued that economic policy is an integral part of foreign policy and that the United States should continue to promote open trade and increased commerce in order to improve living standards abroad and to provide more opportunities for U.S. business. “The evidence is clear that integration is the surest road to faster growth and broader development for rich and poor nations alike.”

The international agenda is not going to be set only by governments anymore, Albright explained. Contentious issues of international debate, such as free trade, should be moved “off the street and from behind closed doors” in order to “begin a more reasonable discussion in which everyone from the state is represented at the table. Our goals should be to use the tools of democracy to separate falsehoods from fact and legitimate concerns from trumped-up fears.” Albright also mentioned that more worker-training programs are needed for those dislocated by economic competition.

Albright said that times are uncertain and many people are nervous about what lies ahead, “but let’s remind ourselves that nobody has ever gone wrong investing in America.”

International student restrictions would be ‘great tragedy’

Editor’s Note: Martin May of the Record met with former Secretary Albright in a limited-media session after the lecture to ask about her thoughts on some of the recent proposals in Congress to put greater restrictions or a moratorium on the granting of visas for international students wishing to study in this country in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Albright said that it would be a “great tragedy” if severe restrictions are put in place for legitimate students from abroad who “really do want to study and actually attend class and work toward a degree.”

Albright said she was not born in the United States and came to this country as a refugee. She has always appreciated the openness of America and the acceptance of Americans, she said.

“It’s important for American students to be able to study with and be friends with foreign students. One of the issues here is whether we understand each other’s cultures and history and the only way to do that is by actually studying it, learning and living in it. We have to be really careful about not cutting back the opportunities for ourselves and for foreign students to learn about each other in a period in the 21st century when learning about each other is going to be more important than ever before.”