“Good evening Hubert, it’s Hyper Madeleine on the phone”, she sang on the phone to start the tumultuous negotiations with France over the fate of Saddam Hussein. Hubert Védrine, then French Foreign Minister, had described the United States as a hyperpower, not knowing he still swears that Hyper “has a pathological connotation in English”. And Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State for Bill Clinton, the first woman to become head of U.S. diplomacy, used her schoolboy and sharp humor to remind anyone of her status as Secretary of State.
His death, on April 23 at the age of 84 due to cancer, brings back memories of his grueling and historic excursions and of a unique style that broke with the Chancellors’ traditional greyness of building foreign policy into a media event. We remember the founders she wore between 1993 and 1998, when she was still US ambassador to the UN, scorpions or snakes matched with the latest insults from Baghdad. Legendary “these are not” cojones “but cowardice” aimed at the Cuban regime after the death of activists in a plane shot down by Fidel Castro’s MiGs. Or his undiplomatic questions to Colin Powell, then Joint Chiefs of Staff and a reluctant warrior who failed to bomb the Serbs in 1999: “But what is this beautiful army you always talk about if we can never use it?”.
Her punchy tone, her brio as an international analyst and her positions as a general supervisor with a big heart colored, almost even saved, the final mandate for a Bill Clinton martyrdom of internal scandals and in search of an international dimension. But they also helped establish the legitimacy of a rare foreign policy bird.
Born in Czechoslovakia in 1937, Maja Ana Korbel had been taken to London in 1939 by her father Josef Korbel, an eminent diplomat, to escape the Nazi Anschluss before the family joined the United States in 1948, unable to return to a country now under Soviet control. .
The young Czech thus grew up in Denver, Colorado, where her father had obtained a chair in international relations before, as a jewel of meritocracy, she won a full scholarship for her studies at the prestigious Wellesley College. Her journey as a refugee from two totalitarianism has been able to trace a path close to that of the neoconservatives, who tend to promote the use of the grip and military force in their new homeland to enforce its ideals on an international scale. But Maja, renamed Madeleine after her oath of naturalization in 1957, also succeeded in her ambitions to escape the conformity of the Midwest.
The devoted wife was dumped overnight by her husband for another woman in 1982, and the devoted wife, long guilty of her academic ambitions and the pursuit of her specialty in international relations at Columbia, immersed herself in her academic career and became a researches Eastern European issues at Georgetown University in Washington while reviving a democratic network that has been woven since his participation in Jimmy Carter’s 1976 campaign, led by Vice Presidential candidate Géraldine Ferraro in 1984, then on Michael Dukakis’ international board in 1988. her to Bill Clinton’s campaign team in 1990.
Her rapid promotion from shock ambassador to the UN to historic status as the first female U.S. Secretary of State has not been without controversy. In 1998, Madeleine Albright was accused of deliberately concealing her family’s Jewish origins, which were converted in 1941 in London, for fear of compromising her credibility as a diplomat. Her denials, despite the river’s inquiries from the press, contributed for a time to an image, imbued with sexism, of an unscrupulous ambition, as her unwavering support for Bill Clinton despite the avalanche of revelations about the president’s sexual escapades.
Above all, Albright wants a little less under her ideals close to neoconservatives who detest totalitarianism than from her image as a woman who, for the first time, was raised at the head of a foreign policy excessively publicized by the White House. The Minister hinted in a 60 Minutes interview, to show the harshness of the United States, that half a million Iraqi children were presumed dead due to economic sanctions “Was the price to pay” for the containment of Saddam Hussein.
His ry “insensitivity” disappeared after his return to civilian life in 2000. Head of a prosperous international consulting firm, Albright Group, the former diplomat was still active in think tanks and democratic circles and in 2020 published his seventh book. “When I witness an international crisis, I instinctively replace the name of the incumbent minister with my own, to imagine what I would do in his place”, she told the Wall Street Journal.