Embarrassing: Secretary of State Wants to Hug Paris

John Kerry and James Taylor joke around while trying to soothe the terrorized French (billboard.com).

John Kerry and James Taylor joke around while trying to soothe the terrorized French (billboard.com).

What an embarrassment. For as long as I can remember, America was the world’s superpower. We were even called “cowboys” on the world stage, and France was widely regarded as our more dovish ally in the Free World. No more. It seems, we are now the conscientious objectors, not even “leading from behind.”

After Parisians lost people to terrorist attacks at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, more than 40 world leaders dropped everything to march last Sunday in solidarity with the French. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls even hawkishly declared that France is at war with radical Islam.

Rather than send a high-level representative to that march, however, the U.S. government let our ambassador, who is hardly known to the French public, represent us at the march. And rather than respond to these acts of terror in a strategic or emotionally intelligent way, we belatedly sent Secretary of State John Kerry to make a tin-eared response. Our Secretary of State told the French today:

‘I really wanted to come here and share a hug with all of Paris and all friends,’ he told the crowd that included survivors, family members of victims, and members of the police and municipal government who responded to the attacks, including the Muslim man who risked his life to hide Jewish patrons from the gunman who stormed a kosher supermarket.

Kerry also brought James Taylor with him to sing “You’ve Got a Friend” live. We used to sing that song at the end of every Bar-Mitzvah party I attended, and it was lovely. But who thought it would be the appropriate response, as Americans attempt to show support for those who have lived through terror attacks?

Now, do the French even have a friend in us? They were there to help us during the American Revolution, and in their hour of need we’re sending John Kerry, the cold fish with a verbal hug and and aging rocker? What an embarrassing diplomatic response.

This post appeared on the Independent Women’s Forum blog.

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