Hillary Clinton warned of a tough battle ahead for foreign diplomacy during a rare post-election appearance celebrating a new State Department museum on Tuesday night.
Without mentioning President-elect Donald Trump by name, the former Democratic presidential candidate urged a closer look at history to prevent the “rising tide of authoritarianism” daring to threaten diplomatic victories made since World War II.
“We would do well to remember what it feels like to stand in the shadow of the giant segment of the Berlin Wall that will greet visitors here at the center,” Clinton said, referring to a 14-foot chunk of wall that divided Berlin for nearly 30 years. The stone relic is the star attraction of the museum expected to open in 2018.
“It’s signed by leaders who helped end the Cold War, unified Germany, and expand democracy,” she said alongside former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell at the U.S. Diplomacy Center pavilion.
Clinton’s ominous forecast and thinly-veiled allegory was followed by a message of hope for the nation. She said the United States “will weather every storm on the horizon,” but only by sticking to “universal values.”
“We should remember that the world looks to America as the indispensable nation not just because of the size of our military or the strength of our economy,” Clinton added.
The ceremony was not all doom and gloom – Clinton poked fun at her private server woes that tripped up her White House bid against Trump.
“I am thrilled to be here at the new Hillary Clinton Pavilion,” she said. “I’m sure you will notice is is the most transparent part of the entire project.”
She and several former top diplomats were asked to donate a token of their State Department work to display in the museum.
Albright shared her eclectic collection of iconic pins that never failed to adorn her wardrobe while Powell offered a cherished offering of his own – a bottle of vodka shaped like a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
The bottle, a gift from former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in 2002, is worth $500, Powell said.
“Now, if I’d thought a little more carefully about it, I would’ve sent them an AK-47 bottle filled with water – and taken the vodka,” Powell mused.
Powell’s boozy contribution became a light-hearted trope for the evening. Inspired by the vodka, Secretary John Kerry jokingly pledged he would pass along a tip to Trump’s state pick Rex Tillerson that would surely pave the way to world peace.
“I’m going to suggest that he make certain that every AK-47 in the world be filled with vodka,” Kerry said. “That would be a better world, folks.”
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