(en) Albright speaks to Harvard grads

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Fri, 6 Jun 1997 08:57:35 +0000

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More political satire from Lester

------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Fri, 6 Jun 1997 07:59:37 -0700 (PDT) From: Lester <maxim@netcom.com> Subject: Albright speaks to Harvard grads To: KPFA list <progressive-radio@tango.rahul.net>

On a dazzling late spring day at Harvard University's 346th Commencement, Secretary of State Albright reached into her personal history to warn of the dangers of American isolation and global indifference.

"It is not enough that we maintain military bases in every nook, cranny, and back alley of the world," she said (in an earlier draft of her speech), "including in Okinawa, South Korea, and Guantanamo, where the population has made ugly and irrational demands for their removal. America must remain poised everywhere to prevent the rise of those great evils which our media strain daily to concoct."

These were not the words of a passive, status quo diplomat. Ms. Albright's speech was notable for its vision about how the United States can use its unchallenged power to impose its will on a world that has exposed its throat.

"Unlike Marshall's generation, we face no single galvanizing threat. We cannot use the ruse of Soviet aggression to divide the world into warring camps, the better to divert trillions of dollars from social destinations to the ledger sheets of Raytheon, General Electric, and General Dynamics. Today the challenge is to convince a bewildered populace that we need a $300 billion arms budget to defend against letter bombs and climate changes. And to see to it that nuclear weapons remain under the control of the one country that has experience in using them."

"We know that not every nation is yet willing or able to play its full part in this system. One group is still in transition from centralized planning and public ownership. This entails a search for landlords and selfless entrepreneurs, willing to take the risks involved in skimming surplus value from toiling throngs.

"Another group has only begun to dip its toes into that chill Stygian river we call reform. Some nations are still too weak to participate in a way that is meaningful to Wall Street. We must wait until American taxpayers build their infrastructures so as to facilitate extraction of their wealth by the private owners of America's conglomerates.

"And a few countries actively oppose the premises upon which our system is based. These," she said, pausing dramatically, and looking out at the rapt faces of the gown-clad scholars, "we call the Rogue Nations."

Pointedly, Ms. Albright spoke not only as the Secretary of State, but also as "one of the people whose lives have been shaped by the turbulence of Europe." She was referring to the time, 60 years ago, when German leaders said they must spread their influence to every corner of the world, in order to defeat terrorism and communism.

She also spoke movingly today of her memories of sitting in a London bomb shelter during the Blitz, holding her ears to shut out the voice of her cousin, who was saying "Madeleine, you are Jewish, like me, and will never be allowed into the good colleges when and if you make it to the States."

Little did her cousin know, that Ms. Albright would not only get around that little problem, but would one day make into the highest reaches of the State Department, where she would help revisit the terrors of the Blitz on the people of Baghdad.

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