Today In History: Madeleine Albright Born
Today, Madeleine Albright was born. Albright is a politician and diplomat, who was the first woman to ever serve as the Secretary of State. She was Secretary of State under Clinton, between 1997 and 2001.
She immigrated with her Czech family to the United States in 1948. Her father was a diplomat, named Josef Korbel. Korbel brought the family to Denver, Colorado. After attaining American citizenship, she attended Wellesley College in 1959. She then got a PhD from Columbia University in 1975.
Her entry into politics was working as an aide to Senator Edmund Muskie. She then worked for Zbigniew Brzezinski on the National Security Council for the duration of Jimmy Carter’s presidency.
She went on from the National Security Council to Georgetown’s staff. She was also a Democratic foreign policy advisor. She was influential in appointing people to Clinton’s National Security Council in 1992. The next year, she was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
She remained Ambassador until 1997, when she took over Warren Christopher’s position as Secretary of State. She was Secretary of State until the end of the Clinton administration in 2001.
These days, she’s chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group and is also a professor of International Relations at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
She is generally a celebrated figure but has befallen numerous controversies. The most prominent is probably her 1996 60 Minutes interview. Lesley Stahl asked Albright about the massively destructive UN sanctions against Iraq, which directly led to the deaths of half a million children. “Is the price worth it?” Stahl asked her. “We think the price is worth it,” Albright responded.
Albright later called the question “a trap,” and that she “said something she did not mean.”