Madeleine Korbel Albright (born May 15, 1937) is the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State. She was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99-0. She was sworn in on January 23, 1997.
When Albright was confirmed as the 64th U.S. Secretary of State, she became the first female U.S. Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. Not being a natural-born citizen of the U.S., she was not eligible as U.S. Presidential successor and was excluded from nuclear contingency plans. As secretary, Albright reinforced the U.S.'s alliances, advocated democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade and business, labor and environmental standards abroad.
During her tenure, Albright considerably influenced American policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Middle East. She incurred the wrath of a number of Serbs in the former Yugoslavia for her role in participating in the formulation of US policy during the Kosovo War and Bosnian war as well as the rest of the Balkans. But, together with President Bill Clinton, she remains a largely popular figure in the rest of the region, especially Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Croatia. According to Albright's memoirs, she once argued with Colin Powell for the use of military force by asking, "What’s the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can't use it?"
As Secretary of State she represented the U.S. at the Handover of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997. She boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of the China-appointed Hong Kong Legislative Council, which replaced the elected one, along with the British contingents.
According to several accounts, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, repeatedly asked Washington for additional security at the embassy in Nairobi, including in an April 1998 letter directly to Albright. Bushnell was ignored. In "Against All Enemies," ...