Albright: Bush made US less safe

A former US secretary of state believes America would have been a safer and a more popular nation had Al Gore won the election and not George Bush.

    Despite criticism of Iraq's invasion, Albright preferred containment with devastating sanctions

    Madeleine Albright makes the remarks in an opinion piece to be published in the September issue for the journal Foreign Affairs.
    Albright, who served with the ex-vice president during Clinton's administration, says Bush's policies had needlessly antagonised many US allies.

    One example highlighted by the former official was the US-led invasion of Iraq despite heated opposition in Europe and the Muslim world.  
    Squandered internation goodwill

    By ignoring or trivialising their concerns, Albright said Bush had squandered the international sympathy and goodwill towards the United States that followed the 11 September 2001 attacks. 

    Albright also accused the Bush administration of blundering by invading Iraq before Afghanistan was truly rebuilt, Usama bin Ladin had been caught and his al-Qaida network smashed.
    "Democrats, after all, confess support for nation building, and also believe in finishing the jobs we start," Albright said in a not-too-subtle jibe at the Republican Bush's campaign pledges not to use US troops to bolster new democracies abroad. 
    Iraq invasion unnecessary

    Albright also stressed the threat posed by Baghdad before the invasion of Iraq was not as immediate or dire as Bush maintained. Gore, she claimed, would have acted more appropriately. 
    "I believe the Gore team would have read the intelligence information about his [Saddam Hussein] activities differently and concluded that a war against Iraq … was not essential in the short term to protect US security," Albright writes.
    The Bush administration's decision to broaden its focus from opposing al-Qaida to invading Iraq and threatening military action against others has had unintended and unwelcome consequences, she says. 
    Salvageable administration?

    These consequences include growing international popular resentment of the United States, particularly in the Arab world, and increasingly strained relations with the governments of long-time allies like France and Germany, she adds.
    Despite criticism of Bush's simplistic declaration that countries were either "with" the United States or "against" it in the global war on terrorism and his preference for a policy of "pre-emption," Albright said there was still some hope for his administration.
    "It has already shed some of its more optimistic illusions about Iraq, pledged presidential involvement in the Middle East, mended some fences with Europe and reduced the level of self-congratulation in its official pronouncements," Albright said.



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