Madeleine Albright Warns: Don't Let Fascism Go 'Unnoticed Until It's Too Late'


Madeleine Albright served as secretary of state under President Clinton from 1997-2001.Timothy Greenfield Sanders/Harper Collins

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright describes herself as an "optimist who worries a lot." And lately, it seems, there has been much to worry about.

Albright's new book, Fascism: A Warning, starts by describing how Hitler and Mussolini came to power in the 20th century, then warns about today's authoritarian rulers in Eastern Europe, North Korea, Turkey and Russia.

Albright, who was born in Czechoslovakia and fled with her family after the Nazis occupied the country in 1939, notes that the United States has traditionally been viewed as a nation that opposes authoritarianism and supports democratic principles and human rights, but that perception is changing — in part because of President Trump.

While Albright does not call Trump a fascist, she says that he is "the most anti-democratic leader that I have studied in American history."

"We're not fulfilling the role that we're supposed to," she says of the United States today. "I believe very much that democracy in the United States is resilient [and] that people can be skeptical about things that are going on, but I really am afraid that we are taking things for granted."

Interview Highlights

On why she wanted to write about fascism

On why parts of the world are moving toward authoritarianism

I think that a lot of it has to do with the era that we're in, where there has been very rapid change in technology and that has created a lot of joblessness in countries. There is a whole way that technology and information is passed without making sure that it's really true. There are those people who are angry because the status quo hasn't changed, while the climate within a country has changed, and that the powers that be in a democracy aren't responding quickly enough.

So it's kind of like as though we were seeing the people are getting their information on 21st century technology, but the governments are providing 19th century responses. And so the institutions are not responding to the divisions and the problems that people are having in these countries.

And then the other part of this, which I think is essential, is there is some leader at the top who takes advantage of these divisions and, in fact, exacerbates them so that the societies are more and more divided and wrangled and looking for scapegoats, which is where the immigrants come in. But mostly, this is something that's created internally by massive changes in society and some of them, due to technology.

On President Trump's "America First" ideology and criticism of NATO

I see it as the most unbelievable step backwards, because I do believe that the United States is stronger when we have friends and allies to deal with the various issues. ... As a European who has spent her life in the United States, I see the Euro-Atlantic alliance as one of the most important bulwarks of our society, so seeing this go on, I find appalling. And what is the issue — again, it's this lack of understanding of what this alliance is about. ...

What Trump is doing is making America seem like a victim. Everything is somebody else's fault: Countries are taking advantage of us. The Mexicans are sending drug dealers. Countries are not paying their dues. The trading system is unfair. And by making Americans seem like victims all the time, it then is able to, again, make the divisions stronger in terms of who is with us, who is not with us, and it's totally anti-American foreign policy. And so I think it's very, very worrisome in terms of this victimhood.

I don't see America as a victim. I see America as the most powerful country in the world that has a role to play, standing up for democratic ideals and human rights across the board.

On John Bolton's appointment as national security adviser

My concerns are that he has been an outspoken person for the use of force, for the absence of diplomacy, for tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, for thinking that force is possible with North Korea. And frankly, part of the problem is ... that [Trump] listens to the last person who has talked to him, and the national security adviser is most often the last person, so I am concerned about that.

On her belief that President Trump is "anti-democratic"

What he's trying to do is undermine the press and [he] has disdain for the judiciary, and the electoral process and minorities, and I think that his instincts are not ones that are democratic. He is interested, basically, I think, in exacerbating those divisions that I talked about. ... I've picked up that phrase "see something, say something," and I am seeing some things that are the kinds of things that we have seen in other countries, and so I am saying not only should we say something, but we have to do something about it. ...

I think people may disagree with the president of the opposing party ... but we normally have believed that the president tells the truth. And I know I'm very worried about the fact that there are deliberate ways of misstating the issue, and then the people think, "If the president said it, it must be right," when it's just a deliberate untruth.

Sam Briger and Mooj Zadie produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper adapted it for the Web.

Stefan Halper & Jonathan Clarke in America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order (2004) in "The Neo-Conservative Ascension," states that with the election of George W. Bush, neo-conservatives sensed a moment of opportunity.  During ten years of exile and frustration following what they saw as the premature end of the Gulf War, they had refined their agenda and looked forward to the exercise of power.  This chapter begins with a look at how the neo-conservatives assumed power with Bush's election.  It was not a smooth ride, [but as we can see, John Bolton survived].


Halper & Clarke posit that when it became clear in late November 2000 that George W. Bush would be the president-elect, even though Gore had not yet conceded, Bush bolstered his position by publicly instructing Dick Cheney to request the keys to the transition office and then deliberating over his cabinet appointees--also in public.  Former Secretary of State and Bush family friends James A. Baker, a master of that space where law and public opinion intersect, was particularly mindful of the unprecedented and multidimensional contest under way.  All statements and initiatives were subject to the closest scrutiny so that Bush's public instructions to Cheney were partly to rally his supporters, partly to demonstrate confidence in his position before the courts, partly to capitalize on public weariness with the seemingly endless process of chad counting, and partly to begin, in earnest, the process of building an administration.

The neo-conservatives did not, however, assume their new positions without some measure of controversy.  Some endured particularly lively confirmation hearings.  Among them was John Bolton, now Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.  Nominated from his position as senior vice-president for public policy research at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Bolton, who has a remarkable intellect and is former editor of the Yale Law Review, had held a variety of posts in both the Reagan and elder Bush administrations at the Department of State, Department of Justice, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Bolton's views, delivered in articles and speeches while an AEI Resident Scholar, stirred controversy on several accounts during the nomination process.  With a chilling habit of slicing to the diplomatic nerve, Bolton had become the "L'Enfant terrible" of embassy row.  Diplomats and American internationalists alike were seized by his well-documented criticism of the U.N. as bloated, ineffective, and mismanaged.  Moreover, his promotion of diplomatic recognition for Taiwan was a source of neuralgia for the State Department's "old China hands" and much of the business community, who feared the consequences of reversing Washington's "one-China policy" maintained since 1978.  During the Clinton years, Bolton maintained relations with Baker, in part, by assisting him in peace negotiations in Western Sahara on the Polisario matter.  And it was Baker who had recommended Bolton to the Bush inner circle to direct Bush's legal team in Palm Beach County during the Florida recount.  Equally, his characterization of Clinton's North Korea policy as "appeasement" portended a change when there was little or no consensus on which alternative policies would be most effective in containing the threat.

President Trump Considering Sending Troops To U.S.-Mexico Border


President Trump says he's considering sending U.S. troops to help secure the border with Mexico. He also says he's considering pulling troops out of Syria.

Mexico's Ambassador To The U.S. Discusses Immigration And Trade


NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernandez about what Mexico is doing to tamp down on illegal immigration and the state of the U.S.-Mexico relationship.

Bolton's nomination distilled the sharp differences between the two parties on the highest profile national security issues and also tested the power of his principal Senate supporter, Jesse Helms, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Helms was a rare supporter of neoconservatives in Congress.

Despite much ruffling of feathers, Bolton made it through the hearings.  When Secretary of State Powell lays down a policy, Bolton said, "I will adhere to that policy."  Bolton did not volunteer opinions on contentious issues, adroitly avoiding a question on the 1972 ABM Treaty by the committee's ranking Democrat, Senator Joseph Biden.  Bolton's deft performance was such that it inspired [then] Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to ask whether Mr. Bolton's was a case of "confirmation conversion."

Throughout the hearings, Bolton had a powerful ally in Senator Jesse Helms.  Helms had promoted Bolton for the State Department job and introduced him at his hearing as a "brilliant writer and thinker."  Helms thought the government, and specifically the State Department, could use someone such as Bolton, "a man with the courage of his convictions who said what he means and means what he says."  In the end Helms got his wish, but the process demonstrated that nominating neo-conservatives to the Bush administration was not a walk in the park.  Their eventual primacy was anything but foreordain.

Chinese Tariff On American Ginseng 'Definitely Concerning,' Wisconsin Farmer Says

Wisconsin produces 90 percent of the nation's ginseng crop, most of which gets exported to China. Here, ginseng roots are seen at a ginseng-cleaning plant in Wausau, Wis. (Ramde Dinesh/AP)Wisconsin produces 90 percent of the nation's ginseng crop, most of which gets exported to China. Here, ginseng roots are seen at a ginseng-cleaning plant in Wausau, Wis. (Ramde Dinesh/AP)

China's tariffs on U.S. goods target 128 U.S. products, including almonds, wine and ginseng, which is facing a 15 percent tariff. The root, used in herbal remedies and teas, is very popular in Asia.

Nearly all of the ginseng grown in the U.S. is shipped to China — and almost all of it is grown in Marathon County, Wisconsin, a county that went for President Trump in 2016. One of the farmers there is Jim Schumacher, co-owner of Schumacher Ginseng, a midsize family farm in Marathon.

Here & Now

05:34Apr 2, 2018

"It's very concerning," Schumacher tells Here & Now's Robin Young of the tariff. "I don't like to see tariffs in anything, and to have it hit a little industry like ours here in Wisconsin, it definitely is concerning."

Interview Highlights

On whether he's done the math to determine the tariff's impact on his business

"Really, you know, it depends on the size of the farmer. But the industry here in Wisconsin probably shipped about around $30 million worth of ginseng to China last year. So, it ends up being a large amount for the farmers here in Wisconsin.

"I can [figure out the impact], I haven't penciled it out yet, but, you know, it definitely amounts to a lot. And the problem is it's not just the 15 percent tariff. It's, will the price raise also for the consumers in China? Once you bring it in there, obviously the price is 15 percent higher, we're gonna take the 15 percent, so is it gonna affect the amount of ginseng we sell also?"

On Wisconsin-grown ginseng's history

"This type of ginseng that we grow here in Wisconsin is the American, or the Panax quinquefolius species. The cultivating industry started here in Wisconsin in the early 1900s, and for 75 years, Wisconsin grew 95 percent of this type of ginseng worldwide. And the trade began in the early 1900s with China, and the ginseng that we grow here in Wisconsin like I said is the American species, which is different than the Chinese- or Korean-grown ginseng. If you look at the way it's used in traditional Chinese medicine, ours is considered more of a cooling-type herb, whereas the Korean- or Chinese-grown ginseng is considered a stimulating or a hot type of ginseng."

On ginseng market fluctuations

"For about 75 years, almost all of that type of ginseng was grown here in Marathon County in Wisconsin, until around the 1990s, that's when all of a sudden the market was flooded with a lot of ginseng coming out of Canada. For the Chinese customer, the Wisconsin-grown ginseng is still considered the premium quality ginseng, and if you look on the market, we definitely command a higher price."

On the mood in the county amid talk of a trade war with China

"Obviously we're not happy with that. I don't agree with any type of tariff placed on any products, but obviously when it comes back and hits our industry like that, obviously, we're very concerned about it. We don't wanna see a decline in the crop here. It had fluctuated over the years, and over the last 10 years, we've kinda stabilized here and the industry was going well. So you don't like to see something like this happen."

On this reaction coming despite Trump's anti-free trade rhetoric on the campaign trail

"Maybe [people just didn't hear it], and maybe they didn't expect it to go this far. A lot of the things said on the campaign trail were more threats and things like that, I would think, and you just don't expect it to materialize, probably. So it's just ... you know, when it affects your industry, you definitely feel it a lot more."

This segment aired on April 3, 2018.

Trump Threatens To Withdraw Aid To Honduras Over Immigration05:21

In a tweet Tuesday morning, President Trump for the first time threatened to withdraw U.S. aid to Honduras, as a "caravan" of mostly Honduran immigrants is traveling across Mexico.

Here & Now's Robin Young gets the latest in news from Washington, D.C., from NPR's Scott Horsley (@HorsleyScott).

This segment aired on April 3, 2018.


Since Trump has confined his reading to Mein Kampf and other text glorifying Fascistic leadership, he had failed to as Martin Jacques warns "to read the runes, “or take seriously the warnings from post-WWII history.  Recent history would tell him no to assume the arrogance of President George W. Bush and his neocon advisers.  Martin Jacques in When China Rules The World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order (2009) where he states that the new century dawned with the world deeply aware of and preoccupied by the prospect of what appeared to be overwhelming American power.  In the post-Cold War era, US military expenditure was almost as great as that of all the other nations of the world combined: never in the history of the human race has the military inequality between one nation and all others been so great.  the bush presidency's foreign policy marked an important shift compared with that of previous foreign policy marked an important shift compared with that of previous administrations: the war on terror became the new imperative, America's relations with Western Europe were accorded reduced significance, the principle of national sovereignty was denigrated and that of regime-change affirmed, culminating in the invasion of Iraq.  Far from the United States presiding over a reshaping of global affairs however, it rapidly found itself beleaguered in Iraq and enjoying less global support than at any time since 1945.  the exercise of overwhelming military power proved of little effect in Iraq but served to squander the reserves of soft power--in Joseph S. Nye's words, 'the attractiveness of a country's culture, political ideals and policies'--that the United States had accumulated since 1945.  Failing to comprehend the significance of deeper economic trends, as well as misreading the situation in Iraq, the bush administration overestimated American power and thereby overplayed its hand, with the consequence that it policies had exactly the opposite effect to that which had been intended: instead of enhancing the US's position in the world, Bush's foreign policy seriously weakened it.  The neo-conservative position represented a catastrophic misreading of history.


The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) signed on June 18, 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The purpose of the act – in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807 – is to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction, and was subsequently updated in 1956 and 1981.

The Act only specifically applies to the United States Army and, as amended in 1956, the United States Air Force. While the Act does not explicitly mention the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the Act force with respect to those services as well. The Act does not apply to the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state's governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act either, primarily because although the Coast Guard is an armed service, it also has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.

The title of the act comes from the legal concept of posse comitatus, the authority under which a county sheriff, or other law officer, conscripts any able-bodied man to assist her or him in keeping the peace.

Jacques posits that military and political power rest on economic strength.  As Paul Kennedy argued in The Rise and Fall of the Great Power, the ability of nations to exercise and sustain global hegemony has ultimately depended on their productive capacity.  America's present superpower status is a product of its rapid economic growth between 1870 and 1950 [post-WWII] and the fact that during the second half of the twentieth century it was the world's largest and often most dynamic economy.  This economic strength underpinned and made possible its astonishing political, cultural and military power from 1945 onward.

The precondition for being a hegemonic power, including the ability or otherwise to preside over a formal or informal empire, is economic strength.  In the long run at least, it is a merciless measure.  Notwithstanding this, imperial powers in decline are almost invariably in denial of the fact.  That was the case with Britain from 1918 onward and, to judge by the behavior of the bush administration--which failed to read the runes, preferring to believe that the US was about to rule the world in a new American century when the country was actually in decline and on the eve of a world in which it would find its authority considerably diminished--the Us may well make the same mistake, perhaps on a much grander sale.

China Lists $50B of US Goods It Might Hit With 25 Pct Tariff

China issues $50 billion list of U.S. goods for possible tariff hikes, including soybeans and small aircraft.

U.S. News & World Report
April 4, 2018, at 10:07 a.m.

China Lists $50B of US Goods It Might Hit With 25 Pct Tariff

In this Sept. 20, 2017, photo, visitors look at airplane component parts on display at Aviation Expo China in Beijing. China On Wednesday, April 4, 2018 vowed to take measures of the "same strength" in response to a proposed U.S. tariff hike on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in a spiraling dispute over technology policy that has fueled fears it might set back a global economic recovery. The Commerce Ministry said it would immediately challenge the U.S. move in the World Trade Organization. (AP

AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday issued a $50 billion list of U.S. goods including soybeans and small aircraft for possible tariff hikes in an escalating and potentially damaging technology dispute with Washington.

The country's tax agency gave no date for the 25 percent increase to take effect and said it will depend on what President Donald Trump does about U.S. plans to raise duties on a similar amount of Chinese goods.

Beijing's list of 106 products included the biggest U.S. exports to China, reflecting its intense sensitivity to the dispute over American complaints that it pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

The clash reflects the tension between Trump's promises to narrow a U.S. trade deficit with China that stood at $375.2 billion in goods last year and the ruling Communist Party's development ambitions. Regulators use access to China's vast market as leverage to press foreign automakers and other companies to help create or improve industries and technology.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. lost a trade war with China "years ago."


The U.S. Is Headed Into a Trade War

In a tweet Wednesday after China's announcement, Trump said: "We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S."

A list the U.S. issued Tuesday of products subject to tariff hikes included aerospace, telecoms and machinery, striking at high-tech industries seen by China's leaders as the key to its economic future.

China said it would immediately challenge the U.S. move in the World Trade Organization.

"It must be said, we have been forced into taking this action," a deputy commerce minister, Wang Shouwen, said at a news conference. "Our action is restrained."

A deputy finance minister, Zhu Guangyao, appealed to Washington to "work in a constructive manner" and avoid hurting both countries.

Zhu warned against expecting Beijing to back down.

"Pressure from the outside will only urge and encourage the Chinese people to work even harder," said Zhu at the news conference.

Companies and economists have expressed concern improved global economic activity might sputter if other governments are prompted to raise their own import barriers.

But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is brushing off concern over trade war with China. In an interview with CNBC Wednesday morning, Ross said that tariffs imposed by China amount to 0.3 percent of U.S. GDP and that some action on tariffs has been "coming for a while."

"What we're talking about on both sides is a fraction of 1 percent of both economies," he said.


What Trump's Tariffs Could Mean for You

The larger concern, Ross said, is the protection of U.S. intellectual property.

Still, U.S. stock futures slumped over concerns that the back-and-forth tariff actions will stunt trade and growth. Ross said he would not comment on the stock market's reaction, but then said he thinks "it's being out of proportion."

China announced tariffs worth $50 billion on a series of U.S. products including soybeans, whiskey and cars.

Chinese officials said they were obliged to act after the U.S. announced plans for retaliatory tariffs in an escalating dispute over China's technology program and other trade issues.

The dispute "may compel countries to pick sides," said Weiliang Chang of Mizuho Bank in a report.

"U.S. companies at this point would like to see robust communication between the US government and the Chinese government and serious negotiation on both sides, hopefully to avoid a trade war," said the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, William Zarit.

"I can only hope that we solve our differences as soon as possible to avoid damage to the U.S. economy, Chinese economy and to U.S. companies."

American companies have long chafed under Chinese regulations that require them to operate through local partners and share technology with potential competitors in exchange for market access. Business groups say companies feel increasingly unwelcome in China's state-dominated economy and are being squeezed out of promising industries.

Chinese policies "coerce American companies into transferring their technology" to Chinese enterprises, said a USTR statement.

Foreign companies are increasingly alarmed by initiatives such as Beijing's long-range industry development plan, dubbed "Made in China 2025," which calls for creating global leaders in electric cars, robots and other fields. Companies complain that might block access to those industries.


4 Tips to Weather Market Volatility

Wang, the commerce official, defended "Made in China 2025." He said it was "transparent, open and non-discriminatory" and foreign companies could participate.

Wang said the plan, which sets specific targets for domestic brands' share of some markets, should be seen as a guide rather than mandatory.

A report released Tuesday by the USTR also cited complaints Beijing uses cyber spying to steal foreign business secrets. It was unclear whether the latest tariff hike was a direct response to that.

The Chinese list Wednesday included soybeans, the biggest U.S. export to China, and aircraft up to 45 tons in weight. That excludes high-end Boeing Co. jetliners such as the 747 and 777, leaving Beijing high-profile targets for possible future conflicts.

Also on the list were American beef, whisky, passenger vehicles and industrial chemicals.

Zhu, the deputy finance minister, expressed thanks to American soybean farmers who he said had lobbied the Trump administration to "safeguard hard-won economic relations between the United States and China."

To minimize the cost to China, regulators picked products for which replacements are available, such as soybeans from Australia or Brazil, said Tu Xinquan, director of WTO studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

"China has made meticulous efforts in deciding the list of the products to make sure the impact on China's economy is controllable," said Tu.

"If the U.S. decides to increase intensity, China will surely follow suit," said Tu. "In the event of all-out trade war, both may lose all sense of reason, but I do hope it will never happen."

The Global Times newspaper, published by the ruling party and known for its nationalistic tone, suggested further retaliatory action might target service industries in which the United States runs a trade surplus. Regulators have wide discretion to withhold licenses or take other action to disrupt logistics and other service businesses.


Should I Invest in China?

"What China needs to do now is to make the United States pay the same price" so Americans "understand anew the Chinese-U.S. strength relationship," the newspaper said.

In a separate dispute, Beijing raised tariffs Monday on a $3 billion list of U.S. goods including pork, apples and steel pipe in response to increased duties on imports of steel and aluminum that took effect March 23.

The United States buys little Chinese steel or aluminum, but analysts said Beijing would feel compelled to react, partly as a "warning shot" ahead of the technology dispute.

In another warning move, Chinese regulators launched an anti-dumping investigation of U.S. sorghum last month as rhetoric between Beijing and Washington heated up.

China has accused Trump of damaging the global system of trade regulation by taking action under U.S. law instead of the through the WTO.

Previously, Trump approved higher import duties on Chinese-made washing machines and solar modules to offset what Washington said were improper subsidies.

The technology investigation was launched under a little-used Cold War era law, Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974.

However, as part of its response, the USTR also lodged a WTO case last month challenging Chinese policies it said unfairly limit foreign companies' control over their technology.

U.S. authorities say Beijing denies foreign companies the right to block use of technology by a Chinese entity once a licensing period ends. And they say it imposes contract terms that are less favorable than for local technology.

AP Writers Gillian Wong and Christopher Bodeen and AP researchers Shanshan Wang and Yu Bing contributed.

Chinese Ministry of Commerce (in Chinese):

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comment by mary gravitt on April 4, 2018 at 1:35pm

The US is not prepared for War With The World.  He can cower Mexico, whose corrupt government seems to have not pride.  But the Chinese is a different story.  If Mattis supports Trump's nonsense of a military border patrol perhaps it is time for regime change.  Trump is always whining.  I guess this is what all bullies do when the big boys come out to play economic games.

The Iowa farmers had made plans to cut back on planting sweet corn and decided to plan soy beans in corn's place.  Now these plans may have to be overhauled along with shipping hogs to China.  If they suffer?  They had better remember they voted for Trump even at the cost of loosing their health insurance.  Sauce for the goose.


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