Madleline Albright speaks at foreign policy forum at Macalester College

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright didn’t mince words when talking about national security and foreign affairs.

“The world is a mess, and that’s a diplomatic term of ours,” said Albright.

Albright joined Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Humphrey School of Public Affairs Dean Eric Schwartz at Macalester College for a national security forum. 

President Bill Clinton appointed Albright as the nation’s first female Secretary of State, and she’s actively campaigning to make Hillary Clinton the female president. Her assessment of Donald Trump is rather blunt.

“He’s an idiot,” she said. And as if to excuse her remarks Albright added, “I’m no longer a diplomat.”

Clinton had her own challenges. The FBI investigation into her email server while she was Secretary of State, along with the DNC computer hack, and the Wikileaks emails disclosure have all damaged Clinton’s presidential campaign. But, Albright believes Clinton's reputation with world leaders is still intact.

“She has an incredibly good reputation with foreign countries, believe me. I travel around a lot,” said Albright.  “And the number of leaders that know her because she dealt with them as Secretary of State and before as First Lady and as a senator. But, also, she has spent a lot of time listening to people abroad. She really does know who they are. So, no, it will not damage her.”

But she also offers a sobering assessment on foreign affairs for whoever wins the election.

“I think obviously one our biggest challenges is what’s going on in the Middle East,” Albright said.

“The Russians are mucking around in the Middle East in order to divert attention from what’s going on in Europe what they’ve been doing in Ukraine.” 

But Albright also warns about a third threat.

“I do think however that the major relationship that we have in the world is with China.  It is a very large power.  Our economies in many ways are symbiotic.  They are taking some actions that are aggressive in the South China Sea and so we really have to watch that.”

But as bruising at this election has been, Albright also suggests the next president will also have to repair America’s reputation.

“I think it has raised a lot of questions about us. I that to say that because I’m such a proud American. But, I do think we have to rectify a lot of the mistakes that have been made and try to explain to people abroad that some of the statements that Donald Trump has made are his own statements and they don’t reflect the way Americans feel.” 

Part of her advice to Macalester students is to repair the damage in the country first.

Albright said that Americans have two jobs next month: vote on Nov. 8, and work with the other side on Nov. 9.