Things happen in Iraq completely different from what the president expected: no weapons of mass destruction were found, we were not welcomed as liberators, oil does not run as expected, the situation has turned more difficult. Women’s rights have diminished and links with Iran are much closer. And I am worried that the shariah be “the” source of law and not “one” of its sources. Also, I am concerned about the territorial integrity of the country. But none of the above will make us give up. The war in Iraq was something planned, but it was not essential. Our commitment, however, is no longer a question of will, but it is something indispensable.
The war in Kosovo was “our war” in the sense that Bill Clinton and myself were convinced that we had to put an end to the ethnic purges and allow the Muslims to recover their homeland. We achieved that objective, but what we could not do was to define a clear status for Kosovo. The objectives of Kosovo were different from those of Iraq. Bush’s speech has changed very often. First, it was the overthrow of Saddam and the weapons of mass destruction. Then democracy in the Middle East and women’s right. Today, the administration’s concern seems to be to ensure minimum security.
Contrary to John Deutsch, former director of the CIA who criticized the “humanitarian hawks” of the Bush and the Clinton administrations and advocated that we had to take care only about the defense of our national interests, I make a distinction between Bush’s preventive war policy and the “right of defense” that I recommend. In Kosovo, we did not try to establish a multi-ethnic society, but tried to avoid it from plunging into bloodshed.
Although Gorbatchov believes it so, we were not trying to diminish the Russian influence in Kosovo; it was about the project “a free and united Europe”; the Russians wanted sort of a Slavic solidarity. We did not occupy the former Yugoslavia and had no intentions to do that. All ethnic groups should focus on Brussels when it comes about their future. However, I understand that with what is happening in Iraq, some may raise questions, of a retrospective nature, about the intentions of the United States in Kosovo.
The U.S. military should only intervene in places where there are people that will suffer ethnic purges. The problem of the Bush administration is not being unilateral, but one-dimensional. Everything is seen through the perspective of September 11, as if there was not anything else in the world. The United States, more than any other country, has the necessary potential to do good.

Die Welt (Germany)

Bush-Politik ist nicht einseitig, sondern eindimensional″, by Madeleine Albright, Die Welt, September 7, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.