Travels with Hillary

Secretary Clinton arrives in Tokyo, Japan on the first stop of her trip to Asia.
State Department Photo

Nicholas Kralev, The Washington Times’ diplomatic correspondent has traveled around the world with three secretaries of state — Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright – and now Hillary Clinton. He is a former writer for the weekend edition of the Financial Times and has a master’s degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has previously written an 8-part series about the Foreign Service entitled “America’s Other Army.”

He has a couple of new write-ups on Hillary over the last couple of days. On Sunday (February 22), he did “Candid Clinton off script overseas: Breach of ‘diplo-speak’ startles envoys, activists.” During her first Asian trip as SoS, Hillary spoke about the leadership succession in North Korea: “I don’t think that it’s a forbidden subject to talk about succession in the Hermit Kingdom,” she said. “In fact, it seems to me it’s got to be factored into any policy review that one is undertaking.” By the end of the week just before Beijing, she said that she would not let thorny issues such as human rights and Tibet prevent the United States and China from making progress on climate change, security and economic matters. Kralev reports that “awaiting her in Washington are puzzled analysts, angry human rights activists and career diplomats not quite sure what to make of some of her comments.”

Today, Kralev’s On the Fly, his new weekly column is titled, “In air with Clinton on first trip abroad.” Looks like a beginning of a series on traveling with the secretary. Details include preparations for the trip, that is, visas, etc., the staff and press gathering at State for the ride to Andrews Air Force Base, to getting a ride in the Secretary’s reconfigured plane (the Air Force version of Boeing 757 for civilian use), the in-flight movie (“Juno”) and the dining fare (chicken breast and chocolate cake) — on the first leg of their trip to Tokyo.

Kralev writes that Hillary “kept a very busy schedule, and that kept us and the staff up most of the nights.” Um, I guess that’s a signal for sleepy heads to stay home. He promises more about the rest of the trip in next week’s column. If you’ve ever wonder what it’s like traveling with the secretary of state around the world, this series might be worth following. Nicholas Kralev’s TWT page is here.