COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - The 64th Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, spoke to a packed house on Tuesday night at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Albright became the first female Secretary of State in 1997. She spoke candidly about her experiences as an immigrant as she touched on the importance of bipartisanship and foreign policy.
"I'm often asked whether I'm an optimist or a pessimist, and I reply I'm an optimist who worries a lot," said Albright. "I have faith in the resilience of democracy and in the desire of most people to get along with one another in stability and peace. At the same time I am worried about tensions on the Korean peninsula and Middle East. I worry about Vladimir Putin who's trying to make Russia great again by inserting his influence in eastern Europe and the Middle East by undermining the west."
She says what worries her most is that in almost every corner of the world, democratic institutions and values are under attack.
"It seems as if everywhere you look, the euphoria that accompanied the end of the Cold War, has been replaced by doubts about the capacity of democracy to deliver on its promises," explained Albright. "Here in the US we find ourselves increasingly divided, angry with one another and immersed in a climate of fear."
She attributes the current climate of fear partially to globalization and technology, and its affect on jobs. She says when men and women feel insecure about their future, they often look for someone to blame,
Albright says the information revolution has enabled us to share our grievances instantly and globally.
"This has made governing more difficult and given politicians on both extremes the chance to build emotional bonfires out of fear," said Albright. "This has made it that much harder to have a real conversation about America's international priorities."
Albright also gave her thoughts on the NAFTA deal and the importance of trade as well as her views on the UN.
Prior to her talk, she signed copies of her latest book "Fascism: A Warning". It debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list earlier this year.
The event, was co sponsored by The Scowcroft Institute at The Bush School of Govt and Public Service