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Bill Clinton on why Ukraine was on Madeleine Albright’s mind before her death

▶ Watch Video: Former President Clinton reflects on the life and legacy of Madeleine Albright

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spent most of her life thinking about the world. Even as she battled cancer, the turmoil in Ukraine remained on her mind, former President Bill Clinton told “CBS Mornings” on Thursday.

“She spent the whole rest of the time talking about Ukraine. And it was like the replay of a bad movie for her, as well as a very modern tragedy,” Clinton said.  

Albright, who served under Clinton as America’s top diplomat, died of cancer on Wednesday.  She was the 64th U.S. secretary of state and the first woman to ever serve in the role. Clinton said Albright, who was a great friend to him and Hillary for many years, was perfectly suited to be his secretary of state. 

“We just loved her, and she was a special woman. But she was suited for the time because it was, keep in mind, it was the end of the Cold War, I was the first president to serve my entire tenure after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union,” Clinton said. “So, we all had to decide what to do, and we were trying to build a world and particularly a Europe that was democratic, at peace, working together for shared prosperity for the first time since nations had existed on the European continent.” 

The former president said that it was Albright family’s own personal experience that helped fuel her desire to help others. 

“Her family was run out of Czechoslovakia twice. First by Hitler and then by Stalin. She did not like authoritarian government. She didn’t like dictators. She didn’t like people who were callous about human life and it forged her whole view of the world, for the rest of her life,” Clinton said. “She was perfect to serve at a time when we were trying to build a new future and also trying to guard against a return to an ugly past.” 

In the last two weeks, Clinton said Albright was getting cancer treatment and knew her health was declining

“I think she knew that she might not have long to live because she’d been battling an illness. But it was very interesting, her attitude was, ‘Look, I’ve got a good doctor and I’m getting treatment, and what’s going to happen is going to happen. What we should be thinking about is the world we’d like to leave to our grandchildren,'” Clinton recalled Albright saying.

Clinton said Albright recognized the threat of what Russia’s invasion of Ukraine meant for the world. As President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders gathered in Brussels on the one-month anniversary of the Russian invasion, Clinton said that he will support whatever solutions the group produces to help the Ukrainians. 

“I will support whatever they decide to do to try to make sure Ukraine survives and eventually prevails. They [Ukraine] are doing their part and then some. They have been so brave,” he said. “If ever there was an example of a country that wants to be free and independent, it’s Ukraine.” 

“As long as we’re all together with NATO and all together with Europe, I think we should, you know, encourage them and support them. We need as little second-guessing as possible now,” said Clinton.  
 



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