Madeleine Albright – a singular woman

Madeleine Albright, a Czech refugee, who became the first female US Secretary of State under Bill Clinton has died aged 84. Her early life was challenging as her diplomat father took the family to London months before World War 11, only to live through the blitz, and returned to Czechoslovakia briefly after the war before fleeing the communist regime to seek asylum in the US. By the age of 11 Albright had already lived in several countries and spoke four languages. She was brought up Roman Catholic and only discovered in the 1990s that she was born Jewish, with three grandparents killed in the holocaust.  

  Her father taught at the University of Denver, where one of his later students was Condoleezza Rice, the second female Secretary of State under GW Bush. Madeleine Albright married a philandering publishing executive, had three daughters moved into academic life and then when her marriage split into politics. Her reputation as a tough operator followed her into the UN where she was US Ambassador, constantly championing US power.

In a later interview, Albright said the US had a problem with women in politics. “I don’t understand it, frankly,” she said. “We are very good at being No 1 in many things and yet we are not in this and I don’t know the answer. Because there are certainly very qualified women.” When she was professor of International Relations she made a point of putting women into the male-dominated roles, teaching them the importance of speaking up and interrupting to have their voices heard.

Because of her familiarity with communism and fascism, she was a fierce proponent of human rights and opposition to authoritarianism on the international stage, even if it meant military intervention. Though she was against the Iraq invasion.

  She used her jewellery to diplomatic effect, wearing an antique snake pin after she was called an “unparalleled serpent” by the Iraqi media after the first Gulf war. A giant insect brooch came out when the Russians were embroiled in a “bugging” scandal; and her monkey broach was worn to a frosty encounter with Putin in a subliminal “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” reprimand over Russia’s activities in Chechnya. 

   She was born 15 May 1937 in Prague (no birth time) and had a dogged, enduring, stubborn chart, which reflected the dangers and stresses of her formative years. It’s the kind of chart that could easily have gone bad but she used her toughness to good use. She had a Taurus Sun conjunct Algol and conjunct Mercury with her Sun opposition a formidable Mars in late Scorpio; with her Mars was in an even more redoubtable Grand Trine involving Pluto and Saturn in forced-to-be-self-reliant Aries. Her Sun was trine a lucky Jupiter in Capricorn on one side and Neptune on the other. Her Pluto was in a pushily confident opposition to Jupiter tempered by being square a diplomatic Venus. Complicated, talented, courageous and massively strong-willed.    

   Her spiritual-seeker 7th Harmonic was strong as was her ‘master number’ 11H and most marked was her breakthrough/exploration 13H.

10 thoughts on “Madeleine Albright – a singular woman

  1. I really enjoyed her memoir called “Prague Spring” explaining the experiences of her family. Not sure where you got the information that she was against the invasion of Iraq. In an interview with her before the Iraq War, she spoke in favor of it, calling Saddam Hussein the worst dictator since Hitler. So many political people in the US who were all for the Iraq invasion later distanced themselves from it and denied it. She was highly competent and gifted.

    I love your description of how she used jewelry in diplomacy. Very clever — a Taurus with Mars in Scorpio.

  2. “In a later interview, Albright said the US had a problem with women in politics. “I don’t understand it, frankly,” she said. “We are very good at being No 1 in many things and yet we are not in this and I don’t know the answer. Because there are certainly very qualified women.”

    I’ve often referred to this idea on this board. US politics truly has an issue with competent, powerful women. And apparently, not just politicians – the level of smug, self serving verbal abuse Ketanji Brown Jackson has taken from Republican Senators at her SCOTUS hearing is staggering. My usually not very “woke” legal contact was appalled by watching Lindsey Graham questioning her.

    • I do wonder if the appalling treatment of Judge Jackson by the Trumpiest republicans was in part due to her previous denial of trumps claim of executive privilege regarding the house’s request for info, saying ‘presidents are not kings’. I suspect they all stand to lose with some of the info yet to be disclosed.

    • I think it is all of the Cancer in the Sibley chart which seems to praise the mother/nurturing female archetype and not women working outside the home or in positions of power.

      Ironically it seems that America only seems to personify the negative characteristics of Cancer.

      • The Cancer element must be the reason for all that ‘mom ‘n apple pie’/homemaker in a gingham apron stuff. Reminds me of ‘Calamity Jane’, the musical with Doris Day in which Jane, in order to be able to attract a man she has her eye on, has to become a ‘proper’ woman, discarding the buckskins for a corset.

  3. Thank you Marjorie.
    I remember during her 2nd Saturn return she found out the truth of her parents and herself converting to Catholicism in 1941. When Albright’s Jewish identity was revealed, only days before being sworn in as Secretary of State, she feared it might cost her job. “I thought… I’m gonna be fired because they’re going to think that I lied. And I had not lied,” she said in 2012. She was a formidable woman RIP.

  4. Thanks for doing a review of Medeleine Albright. Aside from being a women, she was a formidable human being for all the right reasons. Fierce, intelligent protector of democracy and with good reason given her personal experiences. What worries me is many of these warriors for democracy are disappearing and I’m not seeing obvious replacements.

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