In today's uncertain and changing world, the United States would make a large mistake in returning to post-World War I isolationism, Madeleine K. Albright told a capacity crowd of 500 yesterday at the Kennedy School of Government's ARCO Forum.
Speaking at the school's annual graduation exercises, Albright, the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said the U.S. government must use all of its resources to fight the numerous trouble spots which have arisen around the world.
"If we are going to meet the challenges of this new era, we will need to use every tool available, a strong defense, strong alliances, vigorous diplomacy, better U.N. peacekeeping, more effective multilateral sanctions and firm support for the requirements of international law," Albright said.
Specifically, Albright mentioned regional conflicts--North Korea, Haiti, the Balkans and the former Soviet Union--which "if not well-managed ,could pose threats to the innermost circle of American concerns."
Albright reaffirmed her support for using economic sanctions against North Korea. Her request was prompted by the constant refusals of the North Korean government to allow U.N. officials to inspect its nuclear plants.
"Sanctions are needed now to demonstrate international seriousness and resolve," Albright said. "And they are needed to provide an incentive for corrective action and a disincentive for further backsliding."
In Haiti, where a military coup deposed democratically-elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide two years ago, Albright said the United States would like to continue economic sanctions.
Albright said the U.S. would also "seek approval of a U.N. peacekeeping force to provide training and promote calm once the military leaders have left."
"Our goal in Haiti is not to create a democratic government, it is to restore a democratic government elected with 70 percent of the vote," Albright said.
Albright added, "The Haitian people deserve to live in freedom and we are determined to see that they do."
In the former Yugoslavia, though the Clinton Administration's policy toward the ethnic conflict has been much maligned in the past year, Albright said the U.S. does have a concrete plan.
Albright said it is important that this plan be implemented, as the U.S. has both a humanitarian and a political interest in stopping the war.
"Americans have an important stake in the viability of [Bosnia]," Albright said. "For we derive our own identity from the conviction that those of different races, creeds and ethnic origins can live together productively, freely and in peace."
In order to help solve the political and economic chaos which followed the break-up of the former Soviet Union, Albright said the United States should continue to contribute financially to help rebuild the infrastructure of each new country.
"We are using active diplomacy, economic and humanitarian aid that will amount to almost $2.5 billion this year and a frank and open dialogue with the leaders of Russia and the other republics," Albright said.
Recalling the D-Day commemoration festivities held earlier in the week, Albright said that in order to properly remember the lives lost in the invasion, the United States should never become isolationist again.
"It may be that we can never be fully worthy of their sacrifice,but it is certain that to be worthy at all, we cannot turn inward or stand still," Albright said. "To do so, would be to dissipate the heritage of freedom and to renounce indispensable virtues."