Community & Government

A Diplomat’s Toolbox

Secretary Albright outlines the four strategic tools available to foreign-policy practitioners, and how the Kosovo war was a case study in using them.

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Topics include: Multilateral Diplomacy - NATO * Trade, Aid & Sanctions * Intelligence * Use of Force & More - Kosovo


[MUSIC PLAYING] - There's a theory that foreign policy is just trying to get some country to do what you want, which really is what it is. So what are the tools? And the truth is we are the most powerful country in the world. But there actually are not a lot of tools in the toolbox. I describe them in the following way. The basic tool is diplomacy, bilateral and multilateral. And then there are the economic tools, those that are known as carrots, trade and aid, and the one that is known as sticks, which is sanctions. And taking away the carrots become a sanction, or there are different ways to sanction, but it is definitely a way that is a more cutting off relations of some kind. Then there is the use of force, but also the threat of the use of force can be a tool, and then there is intelligence. Those are the basic tools. And frankly, when I teach about this, it's based on my own experience. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, I was in an interagency meeting trying to figure out how we would punish them. We knew that we couldn't drive them out, but we wanted to punish them. And all of a sudden, in this meeting, they were saying, well, we can take away their fishing rights, or we can have a grain embargo, or we can decide that we're not going to send our athletes to the Olympics or that we will have a call up for the draft. And I was just kind of stunned at how hit and miss it was, as if there weren't any organizational plan to the way we use tools and what the tools are, which is really the basis of how I decided to talk about all of this in my class. [MUSIC PLAYING] The NATO expansion and operating with NATO generally is a very good example of diplomacy and trying to deal with a number of different countries. NATO was a very special kind of organization because we are among other members of NATO, and so it definitely becomes a multilateral diplomacy, where we could decide as a country that we wanted to expand it to certain countries at the beginning, but you can't do that without getting approval of the other countries. It was important to get agreement that we would have that first expansion to the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary, and then as we talk about further expansion, the same thing has to happen. [MUSIC PLAYING] In determining policy, often the tools are used together, and that is definitely true about NATO because the heart of the NATO treaty is Article V, which says that you will come to the defense of a NATO member if they are attacked, so that means the use of force. And so the question is what countries contributions are to NATO, and of course, there's now this discussion is that every country needs to provide at least 2% of its national budget to the common effort of NATO. So the NATO negotiations and all the things that are involved are fascinating, but they are complicated in a number of different ways. [MUSIC PLAYING] The economic tools, one of a very b...

About the Instructor

Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice stood toe to toe with dictators, counseled presidents, and managed to find common ground on issues that still polarize us today. Sit down with two legendary secretaries of state as they reveal how to build bridges, hold boundaries, and apply history’s lessons to everyday challenges. The class presents an intimate portrait of the late Dr. Albright’s legacy for the next generation.

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Madeleine Albright & Condoleezza Rice

Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice teach you to settle differences in everyday life like a diplomat.

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