Dr. Madeline Albright Speaks at Georgetown: “Obama Will Inherit a Whole Emergency Room” of Problems to Solve

Courtesy of Maria Baldauf

After brief introductions by Carol Lancaster, director of Georgetown’s Mortara Center, and Jagdeep Singh, president of Georgetown’s International Relations Club, Madame Secretary Dr. Madeline Albright opened the event by exclaiming the result of the election last Tuesday has been “electrifying around the globe.” “Many presidents inherit headaches,” she continued, “but Obama will inherit the whole emergency room.” Not only will he need to deal with the financial crisis, an array of domestic issues, and Iraq and Afghanistan, but he will also need to end the genocide in Darfur, the violence in Congo, create an environmentally-conscious energy policy, make progress towards an Arab-Israeli peace, establish a functional relationship with Russia, address a range of complicated issues in Pakistan, open diplomatic relations with Iran with preparation, but without preconditions and deal with many other issues discussed in more detail in her new book–“Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership.” Based on a question from the audience, she also stressed the need for the U.S. to reengage as a member of the international community and to not continue to be “treaty allergic,” as she said President Bush seems to have been. “I believe that the U.S. is an exceptional country, but exceptions should not be made for us,” added Dr. Albright. She also emphasized the importance of having a new President that would “actually explains things to the American people.” As the event came to a close, she declined to say who she would recommend serve in President-elect Obama’s cabinet, and, her discussion making frequent use of metaphor, Dr. Albright ended with a response to a question on the Arab-Israeli peace process during the last eight years: “President Bush had a road map that wasn’t taken out of the glove compartment,” she said.

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