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The United States is in horrible shape and is in dire need of some serious leadership.  Whoever the next president is, they would have to crawl out of a hole to ground level before reaching the sky.  At least that was the message to the 500 diplomats from 100 countries and 760 students from 12 high schools from around Colorado, which surrounded me.  We were gathered to hear Madeleine Albright and other prominent individuals speak on Enhancing America’s Reputation in the World.
The Rocky Mountain Roundtable was moderated by Tom Brokaw where the panelist painted a desperate picture of America’s foreign policy practices and its current state in the international forum.  According to pollster Geoff Garin even American’s have lost faith in US foreign policy and no longer agree that terrorism and war should be at the top of the agenda.  Instead they believe that the next president needs to focus on the economy and jobs.
Richard Holbrooke argued that the new leadership needs to focus and set priorities.  The first of these priorities should be on economics.  “Nations rise and fall based on their economic strength,” and the US is no exception.  The second priority should focus on regaining respect for America by repairing the image, emphasizing the US’s dismal human rights record (i.e. Guantanamo, torture), its position on the environment, and civil liberties.
Madeleine Albright emphasized the need for greater international collaboration through groups such as the United Nations, cultural exchanges, and most importantly student exchanges where the US needs to work harder on giving visas to permit student from critical countries to attend universities in the United States.  Cultural diplomacy is key in being to further repair the US image.
So economics and more international exchanges and not a mention of Iran!
The Roundtable was sponsored by the United Nations Foundation and the Council on Foreign Relations.  Other speakers included Richard Hass, Jessica Mathews, and Vin Weber.

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