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Madeleine Albright And The New American…

Madeleine Albright And The New American Diplomacy

by Thomas Lippman

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0813397677, Hardcover)

With the exception of Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright has quite possibly had more biographies written about her than any other secretary of state, and the titles keep coming. Unlike earlier biographies, which focused more attention on her personal history and the years leading up to her appointment as secretary of state (Seasons of Her Life, Madeleine Albright: A Twentieth-Century Odyssey), Madeleine Albright and the New American Diplomacy goes in depth into Albright's performance as the nation's chief diplomat. Written by a former bureau chief of the Washington Post who traveled with Albright for two and a half years, it discloses her every move, from her own campaigning for the post to her frustrations with the Middle East peace process during Netanyahu's rule to her attempts to shore up the floundering Russian democracy. Thomas Lippman gives us a bird's-eye view of negotiations, public appearances, and private confidences. He also reveals where and why Albright's hands were tied (in Kosovo and Rwanda, for example) and why she was forced to make evasive statements that frustrated the rest of the world. This makes for a fascinating review of recent foreign policy, and clarifies not only Albright's personal style but the workings of diplomacy.

Both Bill Clinton and Albright have had to redefine foreign policy in an era no longer defined by the black-and-white lines of the cold war, but overwhelmed by "a world of growing complexity and murkiness, where the arguments for or against any particular decision seemed always to multiply." Lippman shows how Albright struggled to develop a sensible foreign policy while also interjecting a new concern for women and the environment into foreign-policy considerations. While Lippman has no trouble critiquing Albright for her belief that the United States' take on an issue is always right as well as her lack of compassion for Palestinians, she is ultimately painted as a success. Albright, according to Lippman, has been "a secretary of state like no other, [who] has tried to renovate diplomacy in theory and practice ... [with] boundless enthusiasm, an immense capacity for work, and an absolute confidence in the special talents of women." This is a rare and valuable report of an extraordinary person and time. --Lesley Reed

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:54 -0400)

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