April 20, 2001, - 4:35 pm

Powell: Albright in GOP clothing

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By Debbie Schlussel

Is Colin Powell Madeleine Albright in Republican clothing?

As Secretary of State, he’s acting more like her everyday. Minus the lipstick and ugly brooches.

That should trouble anyone disgusted by Clinton’s Keystone Kops foreign policy conducted by the secretary of state in a skirt.

Albright loved being a celebrity and its associated trappings. She loved meeting and hanging out with other celebrities, including friend Barbra Streisand. With international crises and U.S. interests at stake, Madam Madeleine was seen on “Entertainment Tonight” gushing over Babs’ final concert. Not to mention chilling on the set of her fave television show, mushroom-popping Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing.” When a men’s magazine named her to its “Top Ten Strangely Sexy Women” — a twisted list including Hillary Clinton — she was in ecstasy. Ditto for Barbara Walters’ fawning ABC profile.

Maybe Albright’s obsession with fame and schmoozing with Hollywood glitterati was a good thing. It took her away from fomenting even more trouble in every international crisis she stuck her pudgy little hands into, whether in the Middle East or Balkan states. Largely as a result of her activist meddling and nation-building, there is now more terrorism and strife in and around Israel than in two prior decades.

The Palestinian Authority she helped create is murderous, corrupt and symptomatic of her total emasculation of U.S. anti-terrorism policy. The crown jewels of Albright’s legacy: Palestinian children sent to fight Israeli soldiers, Palestinian snipers murdering innocent Israeli mothers and babies, and Palestinian terrorists creating whole families of new multiple-amputee Israeli children. And Kosovo is now worse off than if the U.S. had avoided its age-old civil war, according to a U.N. Commission on Human Rights report. Even pro-Clinton Newsweek Magazine said that under Albright, “U.S. efforts to lead have a faint air of desperation about them.”

And there are Sudan’s black slaves, who continue be sold by Arab Muslims for as little as $15 — tortured, raped and abused. Not a peep out of Madam Madeleine about this. Too busy speaking out on questionable foreign policy issues, like AIDS and women’s issues. Often joking that she had her political instincts surgically removed, it’s rather like a lobotomy.

Not to mention Albright’s botched State Department security, including the disappearance of laptop computers containing highly classified national security codes and intelligence information, Russian eavesdropping devices planted inside a State Department conference room, and spies posing as foreign journalists roaming unescorted and stealing documents from the desk of Albright’s executive secretary. Albright blamed U.S. diplomats. But as her friend Michael Dukakis once said, “A fish rots from the head down.”

The Czechoslovak-born Albright even had the gall to push for amending the Constitution so foreign-born Americans — particularly herself — can run for president. Indeed, she is Mad (-eleine Albright).

It’s as mad as Powell’s claim he’s a long-time Republican. In his 1995 best-selling autobiography, “My American Journey,” Powell said he is liberal on many issues. “Neither of the two major parties fits me. … The time may be at hand for a third major party to emerge.” “I admire … Bill Clinton.” During Clinton impeachment hearings, Powell’s daughter Anne got a coveted audition for co-host of ABC’s “The View,” during which she vehemently attacked Republicans and conservatives and stood up for Clinton and his private life. You can bet the young Powellette apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Her sister played a proud lesbian in an off-Broadway play, with Papa Powell gushing to the media.

Powell shares Albright’s taste for celebrities. But, even worse than attending their concerts, he’s consulting them on foreign policy. In March, he met for an hour with U2’s Bono about forgiving tax-funded loans to third-world nations. Wednesday, he met with Paul McCartney and girlfriend/model Heather Mills about their anti-landmine campaign. That’s supposed to be a defense issue. Apparently, one must be a has-been UK pop star to advise Powell on U.S. foreign policy. Who’s next, Elton John?

Then, there’s Powell’s Albrightesque behavior toward Israel. A Palestinian-sponsored torrent of terrorist bombings, shootings, and warfare now faces Israel on a daily basis. In the tradition of U.S. peace through strength defense policy, Israel responds, attacking those Palestinian installations fomenting the violence. And what does Powell do? He attacks Israel as “overreacting.” In Powell’s world, Israel should just accept the cold-blooded murder of its civilians within its own borders. Could this be connected with the $200,000 in speaking fees he accepted in November from the pro-Syrian, anti-Israel Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares? Powell already knew he’d be Bush’s Secretary of State when he delivered the paid Tufts University address, a huge conflict of interest.

Powell’s policies are no surprise. He’s the same guy who opposed the Gulf War. Being a “great military mind,” Powell opposed the engagement, predicting we’d badly lose in a ground war. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he and Albright pushed Clinton for military involvement in Kosovo.

In Presidential debates, Bush promised a less-intrusive foreign policy without nation-building. Instead, he gave us an intrusive, nation-building, liberal Secretary of State who consults with foreign pop stars on foreign policy.

There’s a difference between Albright and Powell. A noxious presence, she did not carry Powell’s heavy conflict-of-interest baggage. In addition to questionable speaking fees, Powell was a large stockholder in America Online (AOL), sitting on its board. His son, Michael, now FCC Chairman, voted to approve the AOL-Time Warner merger, earning pops millions in increased stock option value when he exercised them. Now at State, Powell brought in crony AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case to consult and install State’s new computer system. All without a competitive bidding process. Suddenly, Powell is against sanctions, which he so adamantly supported during the Gulf War. Interesting, since Case wants to expand AOL’s empire to U.S.-embargoed nations. It’s not the only conflict of interest for the Powell family. Daughter Anne was suddenly named co-host of AOL Time Warner’s TBS network’s “War Games” show, while brother Michael regulates the company at FCC. The Powells are well-connected.

Which is why Powell, an Albright-clone, got the job. Sounding like Hillary, Laura Bush told Larry King, on Wednesday, that she helped Bush pick his advisers and staff. She said she was “proud that a lot of women are at the table.” Apparently Bush has a Clintonesque affirmative action staffing policy.

Clinton picked Albright because she was a woman. Did Bush — or his wife — pick Colin Powell merely because he’s black?

Unless it’s a mutual affinity for Beatles’ political advice, it sure seems that way.

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