Madeleine Albright: ‘Iraq Is the Biggest Disaster in American History’

By Ali Meyer | May 15, 2015 | 2:52pm EDT
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (AP Photo)

( - Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Friday that “Iraq is the biggest disaster in American history.”

“I have believed that Iraq is the biggest disaster in American history,” said the former Secretary of State during a Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) event in Washington, D.C. “It has ruined America’s reputation or damaged it, because our reputation can be reversed quickly and has been in many ways.

“What it did was militarize democracy and make it very hard, and I think it has put us in a very bad position in the Middle East on all the issues that we’ve discussed,” Albright said.

Albright said that while she believes “there is slow movement that is improving in terms of trying to get at more inclusive government,” there still needs to be effort to figure out how “various parts of Iraq can be brought together.”

“I think the real problem is what has happened in terms of the Middle East and the fact that Iraq is not a balance to Iran or among the different other issues,” she said. “I think that going into Iraq - God knows why - has kind of disturbed all of it, and we haven’t put it back together, and I think it’s going to need an awful lot of thinking from scholars and practitioners doing stuff together.”

Albright made the comments at the WWC discussion titled, “Is the United States Still the ‘Indispensable Nation’?” and was asked whether we are still indispensable.

“There’s nothing in the definition of indispensable that says alone,” said Albright. “It means that we have to be engaged, and so it always had that context of partnership and operating with others.

“The problem is I think that finding the right partners, who do you do it with, and that is the part that’s getting more complicated, but there is no question in my mind that we are the indispensable nation,” she said. “And the reason I say that is that I have sat around too many multilateral tables of a variety of kinds - either formal ones at the UN and informal various conference and things that we go to - and unless the United States is engaged, I have to say nothing happens, and I think our problem is trying to figure out where we fit in.”

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