This article first appeared in Havok Journal on 25JAN15.
When I heard Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to France to make up for the “no-show-gate” debacle. I sighed. I knew it was going to be a disaster, as most things involving Kerry are, but I didn’t know how bad it really was until I saw the photo.
I firmly believe that part of being a proud American means that I don’t go around apologizing for the judgment calls our country makes. Our President made the call not to send anyone important to participate in the Charlie Hebdo unity march in France; I think that was a bad call, but it was his to make. So I don’t feel the need to apologize to the French people for our absence at their big unity march, but I did feel a tinge of embarrassment as I watched Secretary Kerry in action.
Predictably, Kerry just made an already-bad situation even worse, something he is wont to do. First was his God-awful greeting of the French president, amply examined (and eviscerated) by no less an authority on international affairs than John Stewart (fast forward to the 4:10 mark).
For those of you unfamiliar with the particular Kerry faux pas, our Secretary of State awkwardly grasped both of French President Hollande’s hands, pulled him in close for a hug, air-kissed both sides of his face, and then (still awkwardly) held onto Hollande’s hand as the French president tried to pull away. “Awkward, thy name is John Kerry.”
…and it only got worse from there.
Instead of rolling out a package of security commitments and intel exchanges to help France combat Islamic terrorism, the US Secretary of State rolled out… James Taylor and his guitar? Seriously? How many French people even know who James Taylor is? How did James Taylor even get on stage? Was this something Kerry planned, or did Taylor just happen to be in the audience with his guitar? “Hey, look at that folks, James Taylor is in the audience tonight! Come on up here and sing us a song, Jimmy!” The whole affair, from Kerry’s introduction to the woman standing beside Taylor holding a microphone had a surreal, “wtf is even happening right now” feel to it. The thudding noise that accompanied Taylor’s singing was the sound of a million simultaneous facepalms. Way to go, Kerry.
Instead of a competent Secretary of State, we have John Kerry. Instead of re-building ties with important allies we get the most awkward greeting since… well, probably since the last time Kerry greeted someone.
And instead of the sounds of bombs falling or doors getting kicked in as a reaction to the murder of more than a dozen people by Islamic extremists, we get the gentle strains of that 1971 chart-topper, “You’ve Got a Friend.” Awesome.
If we were going to send an envoy to France, it should have been someone who isn’t going to completely embarrass our nation or make the situation even worse. And if we’re going to sing a song of support to an important ally who was just attacked in its capital city, here’s one I think is much more appropriate.
The American response to Islamic terrorism in the capital city of one of our closest allies consists of John “Awkwardly Feckless” Kerry and a 40-year-old love song by James Taylor. And we wonder why the world is laughing at us.