Madeline Albright: 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.

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.