Having brought you the stirring story of John Kerry’s most recent foray into diplomacy—commemorating the terrorist attack on France by having James Taylor serenade the French with what I called, very generously, an “adolescent anthem”-- I am more than happy to offer as a follow-up Kevin Williamson’s well-crafted comments on National Review.
I understand that some people do not understand why the Kerry/Taylor gambit was offensive, insulting and pathetic. I advise them to apply to the White House immediately for a job.
Anyway, Williamson opined:
The spectacle of the Obama administration’s dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to “share a big hug with Paris” as James Taylor — who still exists — crooned “You’ve Got a Friend” is the perfect objective correlative for American decline: The pathetic self-regard of John Kerry and James Taylor’s Baby Boomers meets the cynical, self-serving, going-through-the-motions style of Barack Obama’s Generation X as disenchanted Millennials in parental basements across the fruited plains no doubt injured their thumbs typing “WTF?” It is the substitution of celebrity for power, of sentiment for analysis, of sloppy gesture for clear-headed commitment.
We’re responding to barbarism from the 7th century with soft rock from the 1970s.
Astutely drawing an historical analogy, Williamson continues:
In our hour of need, the French gave us Lafayette. In theirs, we sent them the guy who drained all the sugar out of “How Sweet It Is” and substituted saccharin.
Finally, Williamson closes with a reflection on the fact that we Americans have occasionally mocked for French for being pusillanimous. Given the Obama/Kerry/Taylor diplomatic initiative, we ought perhaps to give it a rest. After all, Barack Obama was twice elected president of these United States. What does that say about America?
We Americans sometimes laugh at the French — cheese-eating surrender monkeys and all that — but in World War I they lost nearly 1.8 million people, or nearly 5 percent of their population, losses that were proportionally more than 30 times those we suffered in that horrific conflict. (In World War II, the French death rate was only four times ours.) They may have lost some of their fighting spirit since then — or they may not have, if you ask your average trans-Saharan jihadist — but we did not elect Barack Obama president of these United States out of a surplus of courage, either. It’s not that we should send the 101st Airborne to les banlieues, rather that we should be the sort of country that makes it matter when we say “you’ve got a friend.” When it comes to jihad, there are no obvious solutions, but there are some obvious non-solutions, and an impromptu James Taylor concert surely is one of them.