Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright died of cancer Wednesday aged 84.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright died of cancer Wednesday at 84. Albright was appointed the first female Secretary of State by President Bill Clinton, the highest-ranking woman in US history to that point.
- Madeleine Albright believed in a “muscular internationalism” and pushed unsuccessfully to intervene in Bosnia and Rwanda to combat genocide.
- She was the leading advocate for the US intervention in Kosovo to protect the ethnic Albanian minority from Serbian persecution in 1999 and fought for NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, including her native Czech Republic.
- Secretary Albright’s willingness to use US military power was not universally shared. She once asked Colin Powell, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” Powell later said her comments almost gave him an “aneurysm.”
- Marie Jana Korbelova was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1937. Her parents fled Czechoslovakia in 1939 shortly after the Nazis annexed their country and came to the US as refugees in 1948.
- Albright, a career diplomat, served in Bill Clinton’s Cabinet as US Ambassador to the United Nations from 1993-1997 before serving as Secretary of State from 1997-2001.
- The Washington Post’s obituary shed more light on Albright’s early life. Albright came from a Jewish family and lost three grandparents in the Holocaust. Her parents returned to Czechoslovakia after World War II, only to flee to the US after Communists seized control of their country. This experience contributed to her policy of “assertive multilateralism” to prevent future atrocities.
- The New York Times covered Albright’s extensive career in public service, including her clashes at the UN, peacekeeping operations in Somalia and Bosnia, the 1997-1998 Iraq WMD crisis that almost led to war, and her deepest regret – the US’s failure to intervene and stop the Rwandan genocide.
- CNN argued Albright predicted Vladimir Putin’s strategic disaster in Ukraine. Albright, the first senior US official to ever meet Putin back in 2000, used some of her last public statements to raise alarm about Putin’s intentions.
- The Wall Street Journal wrote that Albright’s “personal experience with fascism” shaped her perspective as a diplomat. She served as America’s top diplomat just after the end of the Cold War. Albright prioritized forging a new relationship with the pre-Putin Russian Federation and expanding NATO into the former Soviet-dominated East.
- Fox News covered the bipartisan tributes for Albright after her passing. Former president Bill Clinton called her “perfectly suited for the times in which [she] served.” His successor George W. Bush said Albright “lived out the American dream and helped others realize it.”
- National Review recalled her drive to stop Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the 1990s, saying she believed “it was essential for us to not stand by and watch.”
© Dominic Moore, 2022