U.S. doesn't have to trust Russia on Syria, Albright says

(CBS News) The United States doesn't have to trust Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Sunday on "Face the Nation," over his tentative agreement to help identify Syria's chemical weapons, place them under international control and ultimately dismantle them was "the only way to solve" the country's raging civil war.

"I think we have to be able to work with him on issues of common interest, and I think that's where we are now," said Albright, who served the Clinton administration. Though she added she doesn't trust Putin personally, she believes the Russians "do see the danger of chemical weapons, generally," and "are also afraid of extremists and extremists getting control over weapons, for the their own reasons."

The primary U.S. interest in Syria, Albright argued is to "stop the killing - clearly get some control over the chemical weapons issue, because that is a whole other level of horror. And then I think the capability of trying to get some kind of a transitional government there."

Albright said ideally the United States would remove from power President Bashar Assad - "but not necessarily getting rid of everybody that had anything to do with the regime." It's "very hard for me to believe there could be something worse, frankly," she went on, than Assad, who's alleged to have used the chemical weapons in an attack against his own people.

"It's going to be a while before we find stability there. But to have to deal with a dictator who first of all lies, second, who finds it appropriate to use chemical weapons against his own people, and has some kind of a delusional aspect of what is going on in that country.

"...One of the problems is Americans always want a quick solution," Albright said. "Done it, checked off the box. This is going to take a while. I think we're watching changes in that region that are historic. And you know, are going to take a long time. And we need to be helpful. It's not totally our story. It's their story. But I don't think things could be worse."

  • Lindsey Boerma On Twitter»

    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.

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