The cause was cancer, Albright’s family said in a statement Wednesday.
“When I think of Madeleine, I will always be reminded of her fervent faith that ‘America is the indispensable nation,'” said Biden, who ordered the flags at the White House and all federal buildings up. half-mast in honor of Albright.
“Few leaders have been so perfectly suited to the times in which they served,” Clinton said in a statement. “As a child in a war-torn Europe, Madeleine and her family were forced to flee their home twice. When the end of the Cold War ushered in a new era of global interdependence, she became the voice of the America at the UN and then took the helm at the State Department, where she was a passionate force for freedom, democracy and human rights.”
Clinton later told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he recently spoke with his former top diplomat.
She “spent the whole conversation talking about how Ukraine should be defended and that we put a lot of those who said we made a mistake in expanding NATO – she said that (Russia) doesn’t wasn’t going after NATO yet,” Clinton said on “The Situation Room.”
“She just wanted to support whatever we could do to support Ukraine. And that’s all she wanted to talk about. She was happy. She was optimistic,” he added. “And she didn’t want to venture into her health issues. She said, ‘I’m being treated, I’m doing my best. The main thing we can all do now is think about the world we want our children to go to.'”
“We stand tall and we see farther than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here for all of us,” she told NBC in 1998. “I know that men and American women in uniform are always willing to sacrifice themselves for freedom, democracy and the American way of life.”
Her efforts to end violence in the Balkans are perhaps most notable, and she played a crucial role in pushing Clinton to intervene in Kosovo in 1999 to prevent a genocide against ethnic Muslims by the former Serbian leader. Slobodan Milosevic. She was haunted by the previous failure of the Clinton administration to end the genocide in Bosnia.
The breakup of communist Yugoslavia into several independent states, including Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, in the 1990s caused unprecedented savage bloodshed on the continent since World War II. The term “ethnic cleansing” has become synonymous with Bosnia, where Serb forces loyal to Milosevic attempted to create a separate state by expelling the non-Serb civilian population.
Rwandan genocide among Albright’s greatest regrets
Asked by the commission about the argument that the Clinton administration lacked actionable intelligence, Albright said, “We used every tool we had to try to figure out who the right targets would be and how to handle what we knew. ”
But she also expressed frustration at the reluctance to advance military force against al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
“From my perspective, the Pentagon did not come up with viable options in response to what the president was asking for,” Albright said.
Longtime opponent of totalitarianism
Born Marie Jana Korbelova, daughter of a Czechoslovak diplomat, in Prague in 1937, Albright escaped Czechoslovakia with her family 10 days after the Nazi invasion. Her experience growing up in communist Yugoslavia and then fleeing to the United States made her a lifelong opponent of totalitarianism and fascism. She was raised Roman Catholic, although she later converted to Episcopal, and later in life learned of her family’s Jewish heritage.
Albright graduated from Wellesley College in 1959 and was married to Joseph Albright from 1959 until 1983, when they divorced. They had three children, twins Anne and Alice in 1961 and Katharine in 1967. She attended Columbia University for her master’s and doctorate, which she completed in 1976 before embarking on a decades-long career in government services and foreign affairs. under different politicians and democratic causes.
Albright was conscious of her pioneering role and often spoke of the challenges of being the first woman to head the State Department.
“I think there were real questions about whether a woman could be secretary of state. And not just in terms of dealing with issues, but in terms of dealing with people, especially in hierarchical societies. .. I found, actually, that I could do that,” she told CNN in 2005. “And people, I think, can now understand that it’s perfectly possible for a woman to to be Secretary of State, and I’m glad there’s a second,” a reference to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
After her tenure as secretary of state, Albright served as president of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington from 2001 until her death, and she taught at Georgetown University. She was also a prolific author, penning several books, including a 2003 memoir titled “Madame Secretary.” She also worked in the private sector for a time.
A Strong Voice on Retired Foreign Policy
“Instead of paving the way for Russian greatness, invading Ukraine would secure Mr. Putin’s infamy by leaving his country diplomatically isolated, economically crippled and strategically vulnerable to a stronger and more united Western alliance.” , wrote Albright.
“It took me a long time to find my voice. But after I find it, I’m not going to shut up,” Albright said. “I will use it to the best of my abilities to ensure that democracy is our form of government and that those around the world who want to live in a democracy have the opportunity to do so.”
This story has been updated with additional reactions and details.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Ingrid Formanek and Devan Cole contributed to this report.