As the sun set in a polluted haze behind Antony Blinken’s plane on the tarmac of a military airport in Cairo, the U.S. secretary of state tried to recall exactly how many countries he’d visited as he crisscrossed the Middle East to bolster support for Israel.

"I think I’ve lost track,” he told reporters late Sunday, before listing them anyway.

After landing in wartime Israel three days earlier, Blinken had stopped in Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt — at one point, hitting four countries in a single day. At the foot of the stairs to his plane, which his Egyptian hosts had decorated with a red-and-gold carpet, he announced he was heading back to Israel for yet more talks.