A pivotal chapter of American foreign policy was closed on Friday as Hillary Clinton passed the reigns to John Kerry who will now lead our country as the new Secretary of State.
She visited a record 112 countries in only 401 days, traveling nearly a million miles (956,733 to be exact). Distance wise, that is the equivalent of traveling to the moon and back twice, going around the world 39 times, or taking a round trip from LA to New York 195 times.
She also consumed 570 airplane meals, according to Gail Collins of The New York Times. That’s a lot of airplane food. And she doesn’t get to travel on the leisurely Air Force One she travels on a C-32A, a military version of the commercially flown Boeing 757 aircraft, hardly the power or might of Obama’s 747-400
Hillary Clinton will be remembered for her hands-on approach to diplomacy. She will be remembered for advocating for the advancement of women’s progress throughout the world (her famous pronouncement was in front of the United Nations when she said, “Women's progress is Human progress.”)
Clinton came into her role as Secretary of State after fulfilling the role of first lady in the late 90’s, a senator in the first part of the 21st century, and a Presidential Candidate. It is a testament to Clinton’s character and dedication to our country that she was able to get over the ‘bad blood’ she and Obama exchanged during a rough Democratic primary, and accept Obama’s request that she come on as Secretary of State. (Their relationship and history is extremely well documented in last week’s episode of 60 minutes.)
She came into her cabinet position ready to forge new ties in Asia. No one could foresee the dramatic changes in the Middle East that became known as the Arab Spring. She was in office during the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, and arrived shortly thereafter to assure the Haitian people that the United States is working with the government "to assist in every way we can." She helped lead the US’s involvement in joining (leading) NATO forces who contributed to Muammar Gaddafi’s fall from power in 2011. She has voiced her opinion to President Obama in favor of arming the Syrian opposition as a partial solution to slow down the civil war that has claimed over 60,000 lives. She was quick to fly and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in an effort to ‘deescalate’ the new bout of Israeli/Palestinian violence in late 2012. She made a historic trip to Myanmar (formally known as Burma), with President Obama to encourage a new form of democratic leadership. In a reflection of her accomplishments, she “listed hosting town halls with global youth, raising awareness for religious minorities, protecting Internet freedom and advancing rights for women and the LGBT community around the world.”
Only the terrorist attack on the US Mission in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, will put a slight blemish on an otherwise universally acknowledged successful tenure. She took full responsibility for the attack (after recovering from a severe illness that resulted in a fall that resulted in a blood clot in her brain), and defended herself from attacks from Republicans, who Democrats accuse of politicizing a tragedy (Republicans claimed they just wanted to get to the bottom of how the attack actually transpired.)
In response to the obvious question when it comes to her future, she has repeatedly said that she is ‘not inclined’ to run for office and is in need of some R and R, and she’ll definitely take some time off. Just know that there is already a Hillary-in-2016 PAC. If she wanted to stop the pac, she could do that and end all of the rumors and hearsay, but she hasn’t. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, I’m putting my money on a big time run for president in 2016, and this time there won’t be a man by the name of Barack Obama to steal the democratic primary from her.