Four Cities on a Saturday

Posted by Sean McCormack
September 7, 2008
Secretary Rice and Col. Qadhafi

About the Author: Sean McCormack serves as Department Spokesman and Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

We just landed in Rabat, Morocco -- having worked in four cities in one day. (I was talking to a journalist on the plane ride about our two consecutive days of three stops each day, when he pointed out we had, in fact, made a four country swing today.) We left Tripoli just before 2 a.m. on our way to Tunisia for a little sleep and meetings in the morning. Next stop was Algiers, Algeria, for an afternoon of meetings and an Iftar dinner with President Bouteflika. Rabat, where we landed just before 10 p.m., promised more meetings and another Iftar dinner. Accounting for the two-hour time difference between here and Tripoli, that makes a four-stop day.

A couple more things from Tripoli: first, Secretary Rice and Col. Qadhafi continued their meeting with interpreters and note takers present for more than an hour. Just as that meeting was winding down, he invited her to the family's kitchen for dinner. Staff quickly left and entered, creating an atmosphere that sounded something like a busy restaurant kitchen around eight o'clock on a Friday night. Eventually, the Secretary made it back to the hotel for a midnight press conference with the foreign minister and two television interviews: CNN and CNBC (transcript forthcoming). After a drive out to the airport we were "wheels up" just before 2 a.m.

Second, on arrival to Tripoli, we landed at Mitiga Airport, which in a previous incarnation was known as Wheelus Air Base. If you've ever been on an Air Force base with buildings constructed in the 1950's or '60's, you could easily recognize the rows of multi-story enlisted and officer billeting that lined the road out of the airport. I had read about the fact we once had a base in Libya, but I was surprised to find myself landing at it and driving through it. Later, as we pulled up to the blue and white C-32 jet (the Air Force's version of the Boeing 757) with the stars and stripes on the tail sitting at the former Wheelus Air Base in Tripoli, Libya, I thought that now I understood the meaning of "the new normal," even if it was going to take me a while to get used to it.

Comments

Comments

Syrian P.
|
Syria
September 7, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

Ezekiel 30:5
Cush (Sudan and Ethiopia) and Put (part of Libya), Lydia (southwestern Turkey) and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt.

Daniel 11:43
He (NWO leader, the mark of the beast) will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission.

SNP said: Lets keep rolling with the plan kiddos, one can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

John
|
Greece
September 8, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ SNP

Forget your illusions and delusions, quit your cheap irony and conspiracies and fortunately take the trip to making things better, as Sean so wonderfully describes it, but also MAKES it shine. Because he cares.

This is real life. This is real diplomacy. This is THE real light.

Nevertheless, I know, you prefer the dark side of life? A half moon??

Excuse us for offering only LIGHT!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 8, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

On a lighter note, and this is probably one for the office of the historian, but is anyone at State keeping track of how many "frequent flier" miles the secretary has racked up so far?

Keep this up and I suspect the traveling press is going be suffering from permanent jet lag....(chuckle).

How do you all cope with this effect Sean?

Syrian P.
|
Syria
September 8, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

@ John

What light you talking about, what is so spiritual for you here, the smell of oil or cash, this is about dark black oil and black money, not light. But why get astonished that Kaddafi can be partner for U.S., they did business with much worse rulers.

Have you considered the fate of the millions he rules oppressively according to his mentally retarded daily whim and his Green Book. Of course not, they are just worthless humans that have and live in the dark side. You just focus on the light side, Light Crude that is.

John
|
Greece
September 8, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ SNP

I suspect that when you feel the American diplomatic presence in the "area" you get sick. What can I do? Get used to this. It's coming even closer and that's good for the World.

I did not say that Libya became a Democratic Paradise in just one day. On the contrary, me, Eric and others in the Blog suggested that many efforts and actions will be necessary in this future progress. However, it's a fine start.

@ Eric in New Mexico

That's exactly what I was also meant Eric. The whole SD team is a "dream team". I was also wondering how much difficult is for them to follow such a difficult travel program.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 11, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

(chuckle) John, as far as a "dream team" goes, I strongly suspect that more than a few of our top diplomats consider their "dream team" to be the current batting order of the Boston Red Sox.

Perhaps an executive order designating the Dept. of State as an official sponsor of the World Series is in order.

It would be fitting I think.

.

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