Jet-set diplomacy: globe-trotting Hillary Clinton breaks travel record

102 nations visited, 843, 839 miles flown. No wonder the tireless Secretary of State wants a break

If Washington issued air miles for flying on government aeroplanes, Hillary Clinton would be inundated. But after becoming the most-travelled US Secretary of State in history yesterday upon returning to Andrews Air Force Base from a 13-day jaunt spanning 27,000 miles, more flying is the last thing she needs.

Click HERE to view graphic

If not everyone is ready to give President Barack Obama and his team five stars on foreign policy one thing is for sure: as his top diplomat for the last three and half years, Ms Clinton has toiled spectacularly. That she wins a two thirds approval rating in poll after poll is in part due to that image of tirelessness.

Since the start of 2009, Ms Clinton has travelled no fewer than 351 days – almost a year – and has flown 843,839 miles. That was the number on the clock when she touched down here early yesterday morning after a skip around the globe that included France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt and Israel. It was "especially absurd even for us", one staffer with her said.

While it may be that some previous secretaries had more miles on their odometers because of shuttling to and from the Middle East, Ms Clinton is unbeaten when it comes to numbers of nations visited – 102 – four more than the previous record-holder, Madeleine Albright, who served under Bill Clinton.

Ms Clinton was the first US Secretary of State to visit Laos in 57 years and the first to visit Burma since the 1950s.

For any 64-year-old it would be gruelling. And some of the welcomes are less than warm. In Egypt earlier this week, her motorcade was pelted with tomatoes and onlookers yelled "Monica, Monica", a taunt meant to take her back to the humiliation suffered when her then president husband misbehaved with a certain intern.

It has also been a schedule that has caused her to say as plainly as possible that she will not be returning to the job if Mr Obama is returned to office after November. Rather, she says she wants a break from public service and politics. In May Ms Clinton said she was looking forward "to some time to collect myself and spend it doing just ordinary things…like taking a walk without a lot of company". No one has any reason not to take her seriously.

What they may not take so seriously is that doing "ordinary things" is what Ms Clinton will do over the longer term. Those Democrats in America – and there are not so few of them – who have wistfully wondered how things might have been if she and not Mr Obama had won the party nomination four years ago – are now fully anticipating her throwing her hat in the ring in 2016. One thing voters would have no troubling accepting is that she is a hard worker.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own