Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright decried on Friday what she deemed was President Trump’s isolationist approach to international affairs and failure to curb the spread of despotism around the world.
In an op-ed published by The New York Times, Albright warned of the growing threat of a resurgence of fascism and criticized Trump for withdrawing the U.S. from the global leadership roll that has helped maintain international order.
“The possibility that fascism will be accorded a fresh chance to strut around the world stage is enhanced by the volatile presidency of Donald Trump,” wrote Albright, who under President Clinton became the first woman to lead the State Department.
“If freedom is to prevail over the many challenges to it, American leadership is urgently required. This was among the indelible lessons of the 20th century,” she wrote. “But by what he has said, done and failed to do, Mr. Trump has steadily diminished America’s positive clout in global councils.”
What’s more, Albright argued, Trump’s conduct in the White House has given foreign autocrats a free pass to rule with iron fists. “They can and do point to Trump’s own words to justify their repressive actions,” she wrote.
And Trump’s threats to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and his combative approach to North Korea could “set in motion events that neither he nor anyone else can control,” Albright argued.
Albright has been critical of Trump in the past. Just this week, she told NPR in an interview that the real estate mogul is the “most anti-democratic president that I have studied in American history.”
As a presidential candidate and since taking office last year, Trump has touted an “America first” approach to foreign policy, vowing to fight back against what he has claimed are unfair trade pacts and lopsided alliances.
Trump has also appeared, at times, reluctant to publicly criticize repressive governments, particularly that of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Albright argued that such behavior could set a dangerous precedent for the world.
“Overseas, rather than stand up to bullies, Mr. Trump appears to like bullies, and they are delighted to have him represent the American brand,” she wrote.
“If one were to draft a script chronicling fascism’s resurrection, the abdication of America’s moral leadership would make a credible first scene.”