Former U.S. Sec. of State Madeleine Albright wfae.org
Patrick Center January 31, 2013 | WGVU
“The whole thing started because of Saddam Hussein.”
The Gulf War had ended. It was February of 1993 when former U.S. Secretary of state Madeleine Albright was on a mission to make sure United Nations Security Council sanction resolutions remained in place.
“So I said terrible things about Saddam Hussein constantly which he deserved. All of a sudden a poem appeared in the papers in Baghdad that compared me to many things, but among them an unparalleled serpent. And I had a snake pin so I wore it when we talked about Iraq and that’s how it all started.”
More than 200 pins later, a book and a museum exhibition she calls Read my pins. As I walk with Albright, the pins come to life as she tells the story behind each one. You appreciate her negotiating talents and the value of first impression. She points to a multicolored pin that looks like an arrow.
“I was negotiating the antiballistic missile treaty with the Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, and all of a sudden he looks over and says, ‘Is that one of your interceptors?’ and I said no, but we do make them very small and its time for you to negotiate.”
She’s worn a pin that looks like a bee to let Yasser Arafat know she could sting him. In 200 during the Moscow Summit, Albright adorn her lapel with three monkeys representing see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. A questionable choice.
“President Putin turns to President Clinton and says, ‘We always notice what pins Secretary Albright wears, why are you wearing those monkey pins?’ And I said because of your Chechnya policy I think its evil. And he got furious at me and said, ‘You shouldn’t be dealing with the Chechens at all!’ And President Clinton gave me this look like, ‘Are you out of your mind, you’re supposed to be our chief diplomat and you just screwed up the summit.’ So, they got me into trouble.”
Read my Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection Exhibition held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is open to the public through April 21st.
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