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Madeleine Albright's pins tell story of U.S. foreign policy

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's new exhibit Read My Pins was unveiled Thursday at the LBJ Library and Museum. It tells the story of Albright's unique way of using jewelry to send messages to world leaders. (CBS Austin)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is in Austin and she has a lot of say about how the current administration is handling foreign relations.

Thursday, Albright's new exhibit Read My Pins was unveiled at the LBJ Library and Museum. It tells the story of Albright's unique way of using jewelry to send messages to world leaders.

From large flags and eagles to an entire collection of spiders, Albright's collection of pins and brooches tells a story. It all started with a snake pin she wore to a United Nations gathering in 1993 after Saddam Hussein called her a serpent in Iraqi newspapers. The snake pin did not go unnoticed.

"I really did love to wear pins that were patriotic," she says. When pointing to her collection of spider pins Albright says, "When I wore those people understood we were going to have a bad day."

Albright says diplomacy is one of the country's most important foreign policy tools and she'd like to see the Trump administration use it more.

"Making America great or America first is not a strategy," she says.

As for what pin she'd recommend Rex Tillerson wear today, Albright says, "I think that he might have a microphone to be able to really express what America's foreign policy is and to feel comfortable explaining what this country is about."

Albright is the highest sitting official to have met with North Korea's leader. She says she knows the issues there and believes they should be handled with an appreciation for their complexity.

"People are worried about an accident and what are the ways that this is going to work and tweets are not the way to do it," Albright says.

This is the last time Albright's pins will be part of a traveling exhibit. In mid-January they'll permanently go to the U.S. Diplomacy center in Washington, D.C.

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