New York Times columnist David Brooks talks with Diane about what he sees happening inside Washington and around the country and why he thinks President Trump represents the wrong answer to the right question.
What role the U.S. should play in Syria has been one of the most vexing foreign policy challenges for the Obama administration. The enormity of the crisis is playing out right now in Aleppo as the Syrian government, backed by Russia and Iran, take back the city from rebel forces. It’s a problem President-elect Donald Trump now inherits, and it’s one of many complex foreign policy challenges he’ll face. High on the list is Russia, following reports that the country interfered in U.S. elections in support of Trump, as well as the future of the U.S.’s “One China” policy. Diane sits down with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley to discuss U.S. foreign policy and risks for the new administration.
- Secretary Madeleine Albright chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets; secretary of state in the Clinton administration; author of a new book, "Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948."
- Stephen Hadley national security adviser to President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. A new chapter in the Syrian civil war, the city of Aleppo is falling to Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran. It's a setback for the Obama administration and raises many foreign policy questions for the incoming president, Donald Trump. Last month, former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright and former national security advisor, Stephen Hadley, released a report outlining an approach to the Middle East. They join me to talk about that and the U.S. role in the world.
MS. DIANE REHMAnd throughout the hour, we'll welcome your questions, comments, 800-433-8850. Send us an email to email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook or send us a tweet. Madam Secretary, Mr. Hadley, thank you both so much for being here.
SECRETARY MADELEINE ALBRIGHTGreat to be with you, Diane. Always love it.
MR. STEPHEN HADLEYNice to be here. Thanks for having us.
REHMLovely to see you both. Madam Secretary, the situation in Aleppo seems just horrific. You now have refugees trying to escape. An ambulance carrying the sick was actually hit with a mortar strike. It's being called a horrific humanitarian crisis. What should the international community and the U.S. be doing now?
ALBRIGHTIt's even hard to find the words. It's barbaric. Those of us that have seen many horrible things or read about them, this is right up there in terms of the horrors that are involved. I think it shows a failure of the international system in so many ways. I was just reading again Ambassador Powers' statement at the security council and it was direct, poignant and very clear about who bears the responsibility, at this particular time. She really fingers the Russians and the Iranians for what has happened.
ALBRIGHTAnd is really making clear that the international community has to do more and what has to happen is there has to be help on the evacuation in every way. And the Russians and the Iranians have to stand down, as does Assad.
REHMDo you expect that to happen, Mr. Hadley?
HADLEYNo, I don't. I think the Syrian forces will complete their -- I mean, you could call it a reconquest of Aleppo. What they're really doing is destroying the city and they will -- but they will "retake" it in that respect. I think they are trying to get it done before the new president comes in office...
HADLEY...to create a fait accompli on the ground. And by doing that, Russia will largely have achieved its objectives to preserve, empower its leader, Assad, to make the point that there will be no more regime change by force, which is something Putin has been concerned about and to show that Putin stands by his allies, as opposed to, you know, what many people in the region think the United States did not do to Mubarak. He will have largely achieved those objectives and stabilized Assad's control of the Western part, the populated part of Syria.
HADLEYHe'll try to get that done before Trump comes into power and then there may be some way to negotiate a gradual winding down of this terrible conflict. But the cost has just been unthinkable.
REHMWhat do you think this means for ISIS, Madam Secretary?
ALBRIGHTWell, I think that ISIS loves chaos and thrives in it. I think that what the U.S. has been trying to do is to push against ISIS and really I think not getting enough help on that from everybody. But I think that ISIS is in a certain amount of disarray. We know that. And the question is what fuels their passions and what, in fact, where they want to go. And it's a question of -- it will be ISIS versus Assad, in many ways. And then, you mentioned our report that we did, Steve and I.
ALBRIGHTI think that we definitely see the crisis that has been created in the Middle East as a result of ISIS activities and it's a crisis that has spread from the region throughout the world in many ways, through the refugees. And that is one of the aspects of how a crisis of the Middle East has spread into other parts and created a crisis that the new president is going to have to deal with.
REHMWhere did the U.S. and President Obama go wrong, Mr. Hadley?
HADLEYWell, you know, I think the problem, you know, the Iraq was very controversial and I think President Obama came into office with a strong conviction that he was not going to reproduce or repeat what -- the mistake he believed that President Bush made in going into Iraq. And he has tried to disengage from the Middle East and tried to stay out of the Syria conflict, has felt that there were no good options to pursue. And what we've learned is that, yes, you can make mistakes by going into a situation.
HADLEYBut you can also make mistakes by staying out of the situation. In this case, the failure to act in Syria has been fairly catastrophic. And, you know, it's interesting because many Republicans and Democrats were both saying the same thing in 2011 and 2012, that if Syria's not attended to, the longer it goes, the more people will die, the more it'll destabilize neighboring countries through refugee flows and terrorism and the more sectarian the conflict will become, Sunni against Shia, and the more it will open the door to al-Qaida.
HADLEYIn this case, in the form of ISIS or Daesh, same organization. Well, that's exactly what happened. So it was kind of knowable and known, predictable and predicted and history will judge as to whether a more aggressive policy earlier on could've resulted in a different effect. History will have to judge.
ALBRIGHTWell, I do think that it has its roots further back, as Steve said. And there's no question that President Obama was elected in order to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan, I believe, very justified because the 9/11 murderers came out of Afghanistan. Iraq, as far as I was concerned, didn't meet that criterion and there were real questions about why we had gone into Iraq. And part of the thing that we really have seen in the Middle East are the deep roots of various issues of picking various parts of history.
ALBRIGHTWe are seeing a centuries' old fight between the Persians and the Arabs, i.e. Iran and Saudi Arabia. We are seeing chaos created as a result of mistakes made in governance in Iraq and we are seeing mistakes in Syria. I happen to believe that we should've done something earlier in Syria. But what -- according to what I've read, there were discussions in the Obama national security team and some, including Hillary Clinton, believed that something should’ve been done earlier.
ALBRIGHTBut the options were presented and one can do a lot of retrospective aspect, but I think the history of all of this is something that needs to be noted.
REHMMadeleine Albright, secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 in the Bill Clinton administration. Stephen Hadley, national security advisor to President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009. If you'd like to join the conversation, give us a call, 800-433-8850. Send us your email, join us on Facebook or Twitter. Stephen Hadley, you've called for a new strategic approach to the region. Briefly outline what that would consist of.
HADLEYYes. Madeleine and I, in this study and talking to folks in the region, came to the conclusion that historically over the last 100 years, as Madeleine would say, outside powers tried to arrange things in the Middle East and we didn't do it all that well. And we need to have a different approach where the countries and peoples in the region develop their own vision for how to move to a more prosperous and secure future.
HADLEYAnd then, the role for outside forces is to support and to facilitate and to catalyze that vision, if you will. But the region really needs to be in the lead and the people we've talked to in the region, both governments and people, they want to lead, but they know they can't do it alone. They want outside help, but they want outside help in the right way, not imposing solutions, but trying to facilitate and support solutions that are developed both top down and bottom up within the region.
REHMSyria wants help only from Russia and Iran.
ALBRIGHTWell, I think the Syrians have made a lot of mistakes in terms of where their support comes from and will continue to. But I think that one of the things -- let me just note, I am very pleased to have been able to do this with Steve. We have been -- done something that I think there needs to be more of. This is a bipartisan effort or a nonpartisan effort. And we have consulted with experts from the region, we went to the region and what we really decided was that so much of what had been going on in the Middle East were fire drills or Band-Aids and we need to have a longer term approach.
REHMMadeleine Albright and Stephen Hadley, they have written, together, a study of what needs to be done in the Middle East. We'll take your calls after a short break. Stay with us.
REHMAnd welcome back. Madeleine Albright, who was secretary of state during the Clinton administration, Stephen Hadley, who was national security adviser to President George W. Bush, have joined forces to come out with a new report with suggestions, ideas, firm thoughts about what can and should be done to bring peace back to the region of the Middle East. They are both here in the studio with me. Stephen Hadley, what about a military presence in the Middle East?
HADLEYWell, we've -- we, of course, have a military presence in the Middle East and have for a number of years. And we have a now significant number of special forces and other military forces on the ground in Iraq. I think we've announced some 6,000 troops. There's probably a couple thousand more. The president recently added another 300 troops to the several hundred that are in Syria.
HADLEYBut the role they're playing, I think, is very important. They are training and equipping forces that are fighting ISIS and al-Qaida. They are providing intelligence support. They are providing close-air support in terms of military aircraft. And we have special forces there. So it is a limited force that is designed to enable and empower those indigenous forces on the ground that are fighting an al-Qaida and ISIS. And that is the formulation that is -- the formula that has been developed here. And it seems to be working, particularly in Iraq, where there has been great progress pushing out ISIS and al-Qaida and, now, progress in taking back Mosul, which is the last major city held by ISIS in Iraq.
REHMMadeleine Albright, what do we know about what President-elect Donald Trump might wish to do in regard to the Middle East and, particularly, Syria?
ALBRIGHTFrankly, I don't think we know a lot. I mean, the things that he said during the campaign was that he was going to bomb the -- out of ISIS. And he also has indicated that he would not have ground forces there. I think that what -- for me, obviously, I see some contradictory aspects to what he has said in terms of America first and really not wanting to be involved in some of the international issues and, at the same time, deciding that he was going to bomb. And the question is, how does that get resolved? What is the role of the United States? And there are a lot of tools in the national security toolbox that can be used.
ALBRIGHTWe are, actually, as far as the Middle East is concerned, are looking at other tools in terms of seeing a positive aspect of the youth surge in the Middle East, supporting young entrepreneurs, doing a lot on education, using diplomatic tools. And so, for me, the question will be is whether they see -- the Trump people -- the variety of things that can be done in order to have a longer-term approach to the Middle East.
ALBRIGHTThat's what bothers me, frankly, is that, as I look at the team, there don't seem to be people that have the background suitable for the kinds of activities. And business people are terrific, but the question is, how does a team operate dealing with what is the most complicated situation that I've seen, not only in the Middle East but other parts of the world.
REHMOf course, you have several generals involved. And I wonder, Stephen Hadley, whether you've been able to present your report to anyone on the Trump team?
HADLEYYes. I was in New York earlier this week and met with General Flynn and K.T. McFarland and was able to spend an hour or two with them and give them a copy of the report. And I also think, in the appointment of Rex Tillerson, it's very interesting, you have someone who has great experience globally, great -- a lot of experience in the Middle East, has contacts in the Middle East, has negotiated deals in the Middle East. And I was recently in the Middle East and I asked some of the leaders there how they would feel about Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and they were quite enthusiastic.
HADLEYAnd, of course, in General Mattis, you have someone who -- a very well-regarded, successful military commander, who has deep experience in the Middle East and I think shares the view that Mr. Trump has expressed, that we need to accelerate and expand the effort against al-Qaida and ISIS, something with which Madeleine and I agree, and that we need to do more to check Iran's nefarious activity, destabilizing its neighbors. Something that Madeleine and I also agree on. So I think in those two people, in particular -- Rex Tillerson and General Mattis -- you have people with great experience and understanding of the Middle East, and good contacts there and great respect in the region. And that's I think an asset for the new president.
REHMMadeleine Albright, your thoughts about Rex Tillerson, who has never held public office of any kind, as secretary of state?
ALBRIGHTWell, I know -- I've read about his credentials. I am more concerned about some of his views towards Russia. Because one of the issues in the Middle East is what role Russia has played in terms of supporting Assad and generally in terms of kind of renewing its influence in the Middle East and what it has done as far as Ukraine is concerned. And to go back to the toolbox, sanctions are the tool that we are using to limit the Russians, to kind of see what they deserve or what happened as a result of taking land illegally in Ukraine. And so I hope very much that, as his confirmation hearings come up, that the -- all the senators really ask a lot of questions.
ALBRIGHTI can tell you, having been confirmed twice, it's a little bit like studying for your PhD orals. And I think that it is a process that is essential, that the Constitution, in terms of giving advice and consent. And I think in a non-hostile way, there needs to be very serious questioning in terms of how he sees the relationship with the Russians specifically. And then some very general questions in terms of situations all over the world. As I've said, I respect business leaders. But their knowledge is in a different area. And not everything is a business deal. And I think that the question is, how various characteristics and qualities go together. And I trust that the senators will -- I was asked a lot of questions...
REHMI'll bet you were.
ALBRIGHT...you know, by Senator Lugar, for instance, on the Foreign Relations Committee. I literally -- I've described it in my book as a PhD exam. And so I think that it is an appropriate process to deal with the issue of Mr. Tillerson.
REHMIn addition to relations with Russia, his own personal relations with President Putin, would you want to hear what he has to say about a One China policy?
ALBRIGHTYes, I would actually. A little bit of a surprise that President-elect Trump kind of threw away, you know, more than 35 years or 40 years almost of China policy. The One China policy has been the mantra since President Nixon and Henry Kissinger came up with the Shanghai Communiqué. We do have complex relations with Taiwan. I was in the White House, President Carter normalized relations with China, and there is a Taiwan Relations Act under which we do sell arms to Taiwan.
ALBRIGHTBut the One China policy has been the policy of the United States. And however the phone call with the president of Taiwan happened, it's passing strange in terms of just throwing out a new policy without enough background. And I hope that Mr. Tillerson has a view on it.
REHMAnd speaking of Russia, Stephen Hadley, there are certainly reports that Russia has had an involvement in the U.S. not only presidential but congressional elections. Now there are new reports that Putin himself was directly involved. Whether we can prove that or not, I don't know. But I wonder what your thoughts are about Russia's involvement in U.S. elections?
HADLEYWell, we -- I don't really know of my own knowledge. Madeleine and I were talking about this before. And one of the things that we both agree on, you know, this whole debate is being conducted based on leaked information about a supposed CIA report and other, now, documents. And this is not the way to conduct this debate. If there is evidence that support these claims, you know, it ought to be made public and released to the American people so they can reach their own assessments. It's being too much done between -- behind closed doors and leaked. It ought to be a transparent process where the information is put out.
HADLEYAnd, secondly, if there is evidence that actions taken by the Russians actually did have an impact on electoral results -- and so far, what I've seen, there is not such evidence -- if there is such evidence, then we go to the courts. I mean, there are processes for handling these matters in an open, transparent way in the ordinary course of business. And that's how it should be handled, rather than in terms of leaks and nuance.
REHMShould -- as Harry Reid has asked for, other Democrats and some Republicans have asked for -- should the material that the CIA has and the FBI has be released to not only the electors who meet on Monday, but the general public as well, before Monday when the electors vote, Madeleine?
ALBRIGHTI think they should. I agree with Steve, in terms of, you know, leaks and innuendoes. I do, however, believe that something happened. And if it did happen, Putin had to have okayed it. Given the kind of a system that exists in Russia and his control over it, there would not have been kind of, you know, some kind of free agents that were doing whatever they were doing.
REHMWhen you say you believe something happened, what is that something?
ALBRIGHTWell, I am sure of -- I have followed Russian propaganda for a long time. There is no question they have put out an incredible amount of false information, whether it had to do with Ukraine or what is going on here. And so, I am -- I believe that they did, in fact, put out a lot of false information.
REHMDo you believe they affected the U.S. presidential election?
ALBRIGHTI do not know that. But I do think that there needs to be a public disclosure of this. There -- the -- it's, clearly, that, in fact, the agencies, the various intelligence agencies have agreed that there was interference here. And so we need to know that publicly.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Stephen Hadley, I know you wanted to comment.
HADLEYIf we can keep -- I just really want to say, that is the -- you've raised the right issue. Did any of this have an effect? Shame on them for having tried. Did it have an effect? So far, I think, what we know -- what I've at least read, there's no evidence that it had an actual effect. That's an important conclusion.
REHMIs that your conclusion as well?
ALBRIGHTI can't make that conclusion. But I do think that having read some of the false stories and having actually been out with the public in terms of -- I was obviously campaigning -- is that people get their information in ways that then becomes part of their thought process. And we don't know about what they thought. And it's going to be very hard to pull all that apart. But we have to at least -- can't be doing it, I agree with Steve, by leaks and innuendoes. We have -- we are not a country that control -- should not be a country that controls information flow.
REHMStephen Hadley, I want to ask you about the man who will be the national security adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, and that's General Flynn. He, too, has done some questionable things, like forwarding tweets that his son was tweeting -- his son now no longer a member of the transition team. Should General Flynn have our confidence, considering what he has done?
HADLEYWell, I don't really know General Flynn. I did have the opportunity to meet him earlier this week and I was very favorably impressed. I think he's -- he seems to be very close to Mr. Trump and to have Mr. Trump's confidence. And that's, of course, the number one requirement for a national security adviser. Secondly, he's trying to take a very strategic approach to his job, big picture, trying to understand where the world is going and what strategies would advance American interests in the world. And I think that's the right focus.
HADLEYLook, we've been through a very difficult campaign, one of the most difficult campaigns, you know, we've ever seen in our lifetime. And General Flynn was in the center of that, very close to Mr. Trump. And I think a lot of things were said and done on both sides of this campaign, that probably shouldn't have been done. And Mr. -- General Flynn is going to have to obviously win the confidence and trust of the American people. I think he understands that. And I think, now that the campaign is over, you will see him revert to a much more traditional approach to the role of national security adviser, which is, after all, an honest broker role, largely behind the scenes and offstage. And now...
REHMSo I, as an American citizen, should simply forget...
HADLEYNo, but I would...
REHM...that General Flynn sent out really false and ugly tweets?
HADLEYThere were a lot of false and ugly things said in this campaign.
HADLEYNobody can forget them. All I'm saying is, I think we owe it to him and to Mr. Trump to give him a chance, to give this Trump administration a chance to get their people in place, their policies in place, and show us the direction they want to lead the country.
ALBRIGHTWell, I have more problems with it. I value the role of the national security adviser. I have worked for Zbigniew Brzezinski and I was a -- one of the members of the so-called principles groups, when Tony Lake and Sandy Berger were national security advisers. It is a key role. It is not just a role -- obviously I think Steve is right, having a good relationship with the president is important. But also, are you willing to tell the president he's wrong? Do you operate fairly off the information that's coming in? Or do twiddle around with it and make it say something else? So he is not confirmable, but I think he should be watchable.
REHMFormer Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Short break, right back.
REHMWelcome back. Madeline Albright, who was Secretary of State from 1997-2001 in the Bill Clinton Administration is now Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group. That's a Global Strategy Firm. Stephen Hadley was National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009. They have come together and been together for more than a year talking about what they see -- are the global issues, but most especially in the Middle East that the US needs to face with directness, with honesty.
REHMTheir own opinions are coming forward here as we talk about many of these issues. From Twitter, please ask what is the something President Obama should have done in Syria? Nobody ever says what that something is. Madeline Albright.
ALBRIGHTWell, the ideas that were out there was to create some kind of a safe zone that would allow people that were being targeted by the regime to be able to go to such a safe zone. The problem was, as I understand it, was who -- how would it be created, what would happen, was there military to do it? Was it possible to actually shoot down some of the Assad government planes? And so, I obviously wasn't there, but the discussion I think probably as I witnessed in other cases was between what the Pentagon thought could be done and what the diplomats thought could be done.
REHMAnd what were the differences there?
ALBRIGHTWell, I think that the Pentagon would say it's gonna be very hard in terms of supposing one of our planes gets shot down or it's impossible to put a safe zone together. And the diplomats, I think, wanted to work out something that was not only a safe zone, a safe area, but something that Steve and I have been talking about in this report. Is ultimately a political settlement. We have to deal with the fighting, but ultimately, there has to be some way to get a political settlement. But the truth is, having been witness to this myself, the Secretary of State can say many things, but the State Department doesn't have any airplanes.
REHMAll right, and to you Stephen Hadley, the idea of having a General at the top of the Department of Defense. What are your thoughts?
HADLEYWell, he is, of course, a retired General.
HADLEYHe's not a General in active duty. And of course, one of the most, you know, we've had, I think, General Marshall was both our -- was our Secretary of State, retired military officer. I think generally, since we believe in civilian control of the military, generally, you would prefer to have a civilian as serving as Secretary of Defense. I think, though, that in these particular circumstances, with the background of the President-elect having been a businessman, not having been time in government. Not really had to wrestle with foreign policy issues.
HADLEYI think someone with General Mattis's background and experiences and stature can be of enormous help to Mr. Trump. And therefore, quite frankly, I would, in this case, I would make an exception because I think General Mattis is an exceptional officer.
HADLEYAnd there is provision for that, of course. The Congress can grant a waiver and the (unintelligible) I think, that have been taken, suggest that Congress will do so in this case.
ALBRIGHTWell, I think General Mattis has a terrific reputation and very knowledgeable and not just in military affairs. But somebody with a deep intellectual background and somebody very much respected. I think the question then becomes how many generals? And how does the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff operate with a General as Secretary of Defense? Then, there's the other general that we just talked about, National Security Advisor.
REHMA three star General.
ALBRIGHTGeneral Mattis is -- right. And I have seen, in fact, the military take much more credence in how many stars you have than civilians do. And so, I think that the outranking will probably make a difference. But I do think what is a very interesting question for our democracy is civilian control over the military and as we have talked to our NATO partners, for instance, as countries were taken in, one of the things was let's make sure that there's civilian control over the military. So that is one of the basic issues.
HADLEYI just would want to point out that I think probably most people would agree the most distinguished person to serve as National Security Advisor was Brent Scowcroft. And Brent Scowcroft was a retired three star General.
REHMI would also wonder about the issue of how you deal with a Congress where you've got Republican control of both Houses. You've got presumably conservative control of the Supreme Court and of course, a Republican in the White House. What are your thoughts about that, Madeleine Albright?
ALBRIGHTNot happy ones. I do think that we'll have to see how it works. I do believe in a bipartisan policy. I, as Secretary, spent a lot of time with Jesse Helms. And we worked together very well. I respect the other party, but I think that it can't be -- you know, we have to remember something about democracy. Majority rule, but minority rights. And the question is how the Democrats are respected. We have very strong teams in Congress, but it's going to take some work in order not to have everything be dominated by one party.
ALBRIGHTWe are not a one party state and I think that we have to make sure that the politics are respected. Politics is not a bad word. Politics is when people with different views actually exchange them in some kind of a civilized way. And so, that's what I hope happens.
HADLEYWell, not surprising, as a Republican, I'm a little bit more optimistic than Madeleine is about the current configuration. I think we've had a lot of gridlock in Washington and I think the fact that the Congress and the Presidency are now going to be in the hands of one party is, is positive and an opportunity, maybe, to break that gridlock. But I completely agree with Madeleine. It needs to be done on a bipartisan basis and I would hope those Republicans in the Congress are wise enough to reach out to Democrats and to try to bring the Democrats along.
HADLEYSo when we do tax reform, when we do an infrastructure program, when we take a look at modifications in terms of health care, it can be done on a bipartisan basis. And I thought it was interesting today, in the press, that a number of Democrats were basically saying that look, if the Republicans want to modify and improve Obamacare, rather than just wholesale repeal it, we're on board with that. And I think there is a real opportunity for this Republican Congress and the Republican President.
HADLEYWorking with Democrats in Congress to try to, on a bipartisan basis, break the gridlock on some of these issues. And, and legislate and solve some of these problems for the good of the country. That's my hope for this new administration and for this new Congress.
ALBRIGHTSteve and I have always agreed that we shouldn't go back to the past, but the bottom line is it's the Republicans in Congress that created the gridlock for President Obama. And I do think that what has to happen here, and again, to go back to the confirmation process, I am deeply troubled by some of the cabinet appointments to departments to do exactly the opposite of what the department is supposed to do.
ALBRIGHTYou know, Health and Human Services or Labor or the EPA. Or Energy. I think that a new Secretary has to take over and understand what the priorities are, but definitely in terms of having people who are just opposed to what the policy has been for the sake of opposing it is not my idea of a good governance.
REHMI want to ask you both about NATO because President-elect Donald Trump doesn't seem to have great words about NATO. At least during the campaign, he didn't. Now, he's already reversed himself on a number of issues including the Affordable Care Act. During the campaign, he said we're going to just throw it out completely and now he's saying he'll hold onto certain elements of it. Is the same true about his talk during the campaign regarding NATO?
ALBRIGHTI think the main thing is we do not have a clue what President-elect Trump thinks, because he has changed his mind on various things. I am a great advocate of NATO. It is the most important military alliance in the history of the world. It needs strengthening. It does need to have its members pay what they're supposed to, but not be blackmailed into it. And what I'm troubled by is that President Putin is the one who has thought that NATO was a threat and that Europe needed to be disunified.
ALBRIGHTI hate to see our next President having similar views.
REHMAnd you're listening to The Diane Rehm Show. Stephen Hadley, you wanted to add something.
HADLEYYes, you know, I think it's interesting. Mr. Trump, during the election, said that our NATO allies ought to be doing more and carrying more of the load for the common defense. That's a theme that American Presidents and Secretaries of Defense and even some Secretaries of States have talked about for 20 years. I know Bob Gates, when he was Secretary of Defense, I think, was very outspoken on those terms. So this is not a new theme that our allies should be doing, doing more.
HADLEYAnd I think one of the responses to it, you heard the Secretary General of NATO talking about, we are doing more. And so, I think that this is a theme that the United States has had for a long time, and if you look at the statements of Mr. Tillerson, if you look at the statements of General Mattis, if you look at the statements of General Flynn, they're all about restoring our alliances and strengthening our alliances. And I take some comfort from the fact that the people who will be around Mr. Trump.
HADLEYAs his principle National Security and Foreign Policy Advisors, have experience with and seem to have a commitment to our alliances. Because it is our alliances that give the United States an enormous advantage in dealing with the world and dealing with some of the difficult behavior that we see in Russia and China today.
ALBRIGHTI think that we forget that during our campaign, foreigners actually listen and heard a lot of things, and the tone of what candidate Trump said was very damaging. I have been in Europe since. People are a little bit freaked in terms of where he's going with this. And so, I'm heartened by what Steve says. We'll see. It's one thing -- we all called, I called when I was Secretary for the NATO allies to pay up. But not in quite the same belligerent way, and I think the tone will make a difference. And we will find out what President Trump really thinks because he has changed his mind on a number of things.
REHMIt's so interesting to all of us to hear that President-elect Trump is not reading the daily briefings. How important are the daily briefings, Stephen Hadley?
HADLEYWell, I think, I think they're important, but you know, I think we tend to sort of overdramatize the importance of the President's daily brief or the PDB. It's sort of developed a certain amount of legend. It is intelligence, but, you know, the President gets a lot of information, some of which is intelligence. But one of the things that's characteristic of this modern age is there is so much information for so many proliferation of sources. And so, yes, when, when, when Mr. Trump becomes President, I'm sure, in some form, he will get the President's daily intelligence brief.
HADLEYPresidents get it in different forms. Some of them read it, some of them get it presented orally. Some sit with the intelligence analysts. Some are briefed by the National Security Advisor who sat with the intelligence analysts. The method will be -- reflect the personal style of Presidents Trump as to how he likes to get information. But for the moment, since he is not in office, I think he's doing exactly the thing he should be doing. He is putting together his cabinet, the people who are going to lead this administration with him. That's been his focus. I think that's the right focus.
ALBRIGHTWell, I don't think the daily brief itself is the be all and end all, but having quote intelligence would help. I think in terms of, especially somebody who has not done foreign policy, there's an awful lot going on. I thirst for news every day, even though I pretty much know where every country is and what the history of it is. And I do think that I would wish and hope that President-elect Trump, who is clearly an intelligent man, would find some interest in learning more about what is going on in all these countries so that he would understand what the people that he's named to the cabinet are saying.
ALBRIGHTPresident Clinton loved to have us argue in front of him. He knew what all the issues were. There has to be some way to get that information.
REHMSecretary Albright, Hillary Clinton's loss was certainly a difficult one for her supporters. And you were one of them. What has this post-election been like for you?
ALBRIGHTWell, I think that I actually have been, unfortunately, involved in other campaigns where we have lost. This one has been particularly difficult, because I believe and will continue to believe that Hillary Clinton is the best prepared person ever to be Commander in Chief. And so, it's a big loss for the country especially in terms of the things that are going on. I think that it has disillusioned a lot of people. And then, the part that really is hard, she actually won almost three million votes.
ALBRIGHTI am Chairman of the Board of an organization called the National Democratic Institute, and we talk about democracy abroad. The electoral system certainly was a reason for having it in the first place. But I think that it put some question to the system when you have somebody that actually won the popular vote by as much. And so, I think people are trying to figure out what happened, trying to figure out -- it, it, I don't want to go into blame placing or anything like that.
ALBRIGHTBut it's a shock. It was a shock to people, and I think that we do need to understand better what has been happening in the United States.
REHMIs there any indication in your thinking process that the Electoral College may have outlived its time?
ALBRIGHTI think, in some ways, though, Steve and I have obviously talked about this also. How do the smaller states get recognized? What is the way? I think the hard part is people forget about the Electoral College between elections. It's a little hard to kind of make it go away or change the rules right after an election or immediately before. And so, I would hope that there would be some study of the democratic system.
REHMFormer Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush. I want to thank you both for your work and for working together, showing us how bipartisan, non-partisan efforts, what they can achieve. Thank you both for being here.
ALBRIGHTDiane, I would like to thank you for your years of the most remarkable program and having helped to educate so many people. I will miss you terribly on the air. Not as a friend.
ALBRIGHTBecause we'll continue that.
HADLEYAmen to that.
REHMThanks for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.
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