After Missing Unity Rally, Kerry Soothes Paris with James Taylor Concert

AP Photo/Jacques Brinon
AP Photo/Jacques Brinon

Long after the great Charlie Hebdo rally had been held in Paris, and Barack Obama’s absence had been painfully noted by the entire world, Secretary of State John Kerry finally chugged into France–with 70s soft-rock crooner James Taylor in tow–for a performance of “You’ve Got a Friend” that Kerry described, along with the entire visit, as a “big hug” to Paris.

Islamists around the world must be howling with laughter.  Rarely has the “weak horse” described by Osama bin Laden been so obvious.

We’ve seen “hashtag diplomacy” fail against the likes of Boko Haram.  Now we’ve got Muzak diplomacy.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Secretary of State of a dying Republic, putting James Taylor on stage to serenade a Republic under siege with “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Out: SEAL Team Six.  In: Easy Listening Team Seventies.

Voice of America’s description of Kerry’s belated mission to France sounds equally insipid:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris to give what he has called a “big hug” to the French capital after last week’s terror attacks by Islamic extremists.

The White House has admitted it made a mistake by not sending a high-level representative to a massive anti-terrorism march in Paris Sunday that attracted other world leaders.

Kerry said he wants to express the affection of the American people for France which, he said, has been through a terrible time.

In a possibly unintentional juxtaposition of flaccid Obama administration rhetoric with brutal reality, VOA chose to illustrate this article with a photo of a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist’s coffin being carried through the streets of Paris by mourners.  Long before John Kerry thought about flying to Paris to sing “You’ve Got a Friend,” Islamism was belting out “You’ve Got an Enemy,” with bullets.

Kerry’s “Big Hug” theme of communal sobbing in the face of violent terror fits in nicely with the ongoing efforts to cast Muslims as the real victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.  As you can see from the Voice of America report, the shadow of that entirely hypothetical “anti-Muslim backlash” hangs longer over political elites than the shadows thrown by cartoon-emblazoned coffins:

On Thursday, French President Francois Hollande said a crisis such as the shootings at Charlie Hebdo – a weekly publication known for satirizing Islam, other religions and other targets – can serve to undermine confidence or awaken people to, in his words, “shout their message all the louder.”

Hollande, speaking at the Arab World Institute in Paris, said the whole country was “united in the face of terrorism.”

He also identified moderate Muslims as the primary victims of radical Islam.

“Radical Islam fed itself with all the contradictions, influences, poverty, inequalities, conflicts, unresolved for a long time,” Hollande said. “And it is the Muslims who are the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance.”

Islam can be compatible with democracy, said Hollande, who called fundamentalist Islam fanatical and intolerant.

At least Hollande is willing to identify the enemy as “fundamentalist Islam,” which is more than the Obama administration can bring itself to do.  I can think of some French Jews and magazine satirists who might disagree that Muslims are the “first victims” of Islamic fanaticism, fundamentalism, and intolerance.

Also, it would be nice if the useless political elites of Western democracies stopped trying to use Islamic fanaticism as a prop for their favored diatribes about “poverty and inequalities.”  Following a January 2014 meeting at the Vatican, John Kerry himself said the issue of poverty “in many cases is the root cause of terrorism, or even the root cause of disenfranchisement of millions of people on this planet.”  The idea of poverty somehow causing terrorism endures, despite the comfortable middle-class lives, or even wealth, of so many terrorist operatives.

There are large numbers of law-abiding poor people around the world who don’t accept funding from terrorist organizations, arm themselves with heavy weapons, and conduct massacres.  The difference between those hard-working, peaceable poor folk and terrorist killers is significant.  One specific ideology is having great success at recruiting alienated and frustrated young men into sleeper cells and paramilitary death squads.  Too many of the civilized world’s leaders are afraid to speak its name, but it can no longer be ignored, or neutralized, by singing easy-listening favorites.