It’s been an entire week since millions of people – and more than 40 world leaders – rallied in France following the recent terror attacks in Paris. Excuses have come and gone to try and explain away Barack Obama’s absence. He couldn’t attend because of security concerns some said, not enough time to scope out the scene in advance of the President’s arrival – admitting that our government remains too cumbersome and inefficient to execute what more than 40 other governments were able to doesn’t speak well for those that love big government programs. It would be needlessly provocative to participate in an “over-the-top” response to the attacks, as Amil Khan bizarely explained in Politico last week. The Washington Post‘s Kathleen Parker suggested that based on his own stature among world leaders, Obama was right to sit it out rather than give the rally credence. Excuses are like —holes, everybody’s got one, especially when it comes time to defend Barack Obama’s mistakes.
Whether security concerns, “over-the-top” provocation, or some inflated sense of stature, the rally has long been over and Obama still hasn’t stepped foot on French soil. That would be the same France that in July 2008 favored Obama at 84%, well ahead of John McCain. In those heady days a great many Obama supporters cited his enormous popularity abroad as being a reason to vote for him — challenging those supporters with the question “if people in (insert country here) care about their country, why are they so interested in Obama being elected as our President?” unfailingly produced a puzzled expression and quick change of subject. After all, wasn’t Barack Obama the political equivalent of the second coming?
That’s not to say he hasn’t had anything to do over the past week. Pitching his idea to turn community colleges into the social welfare industry’s next handout program has occupied the Occupier in Chief’s time. So has his latest round of lying about the Keystone XL pipeline. There were the threats to veto virtually anything coming out of Congress over the next couple of years to include sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. And a Friday night screening of the movie Selma after it failed to win an Oscar, and after the sainted Al of Sharpton decided Hollywood was racist for an absence of African Americans among Oscar nominations. There were some good football games to watch, and NCAA basketball. Golf, too. Oh, he had to crtique Europe’s response to terror, advising them not to “use a hammer” in their approach. So much “president-ing” to do, so little time.
It’s been a week and the best the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue brain trust could come up with was to put John Kerry and all his personality on a plane, send him to Paris to deliver a speech, then pose awkwardly while James Taylor performed “You’ve got a friend”. Crass. Immature. Mindless. Thoughless. Arrogant. Stupid. Just like the beer summit and having a bunch of doctors show up wearing lab coats — because doctors always wear lab coats everywhere they go — pure amateur hour on full display.
It’s enough to make one wonder, are these people so full of themselves they didn’t stop to think of how very Dunder Mifflin a James Taylor sing-along response to the Paris attacks would appear? If James Taylor hadn’t been available who were the other choices? Justin Bieber? The Capain and Tennille? It took them an entire week to focus their laser-like precision and this is the stunt they came up with? What an embarassment. Is it any wonder Europeans sometimes view American culture as shallow?
Fortunately, Europeans aren’t heeding Obama’s critique of their anti-terror efforts and they aren’t resting on the laurels of 44 year-old pop songs no matter how good those songs might be. They are going at it their way, rounding up radical Islamists, and treating the ideology as the existential threat that it is. This hints at the reason Obama still hasn’t landed at Charles De Gaulle International and motorcaded over to Elysee Palace for a meeting with Francois Hollande.
White House Secretary Josh Eearnest said he didn’t know whether Obama had been invited to the Paris rally. Conceivably, most world leaders keep email addresses and phone numbers of other world leaders close by. It’s not hard to imagine one head of state corresponding through email or taking a phone call from another, and no doubt a topic like the Paris rally would be something they would talk about. Barack Obama isn’t the kind of guy to take initiative and call another world leader to ask about something like the Paris rally. He couldn’t even bring himself to call Sony executives — the same executives that helped bankroll his path to the Presidency — after they were hacked. Obama is the kind of guy that expects the phone call. In the lead up to the Paris rally, not a one of the more than 40 leaders that attended felt it worth their time to call Barack Obama and invite him.
He wasn’t invited because other world leaders know who he is. Aside from Valerie Jarrett, they are among the few that have had the opportunity to engage with Obama at length on an intimate level. They’ve discussed events and policy with him away from teleprompters, handlers, and adoring media. They’ve studied his personality, demeanor, and temperment. Their level of interaction with Barack Obama is such that they get to see him for who he really is. The result? They didn’t want him anywhere near Paris during the rally.
It may be that the rest of the world understands that Obama is unserious when it comes to radical Islam. That his approach towards fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is at best lukewarm and woefully inadequate. And that even with French citizens murdered by radical Islamists, Obama and his team continue to pretend that radicalized Islam is peripheral — and thus not central — to the threat. Obama continues to insist that every act of terror committed isn’t part of some coordinated effort with organization and structure pitting east versus west, rather it’s just a bunch of lone wolves acting out because of things the western world has done. As his peers, other world leaders have personally witnessed the ideological contortions Barack Obama twists events through to ensure they fit his belief system.
Indeed, were this the Cold War-era, Obama would pretend that communism and the Soviet Union were two separate entities and that in any case they existed because of evil western capitalism. Were this the 1940s he’d insist that a radicalized ideology wasn’t what drove Hitler’s armies across two continents and that Germany was only lashing out because of unaddressed grievances. If this were 1860, Obama would insist that slavery played no role whatsoever in the creation of the Confederacy and that the south was simply responding to white northern wealth and persecution.
Had Obama gone to Paris for the rally he would have hogged the camera. There would have been a speaking engagement. It would have been televised live arond the world. In it he would have lectured of radicalism present among all religions, the importance of Islam, and the sins of the west that lead young men and women to kill. He wouldn’t have acknowledged the global, existential nature of the threat. He would have claimed that radical Islam wasn’t at war with the west. He wouldn’t mention Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s heroic speech at Al Azhar University (one of the largest and most significant in the Muslim world) in which he asked Mullahs for the equivalent of an Islamic reformation. Fighting in Iraq and Syria, and massacres by Boko Haram — if touched on at all — would have been used as rhetorical devices to suggest greater empathy and understanding of all cultures and Islam especially. “Who we are” and “what we’ve done” would have been the prevailing memes. Other world leaders didn’t want to put up with another droning lecture by a man so narcissistic he’d probably believe the rally was all about him. It would have been embarassing, less so than the John Kerry/James Taylor schtick, but still embarassing.
Don’t buy it? Re-play anything any official in this administration has said about the Islamic State. The Syrian civil war. The Arab Spring. Benghazi. Iraq. Afghanistan. The Iranian Green Revolution. Speaking of Iran, virtually ever administration position concerning these events is similiar to liberal views of the 1979 revolution which brought the Ayatollahs to power in Tehran and helped pave the way for modern, radilcalized Islam.
It’s been a week. Obama still hasn’t made his way to Paris. It’s a short hop in a plane that’s always available. There is nothing to stop him from climbing aboard and making the flight. Except that he would have no one to meet with because even a week later he still hasn’t recieved an invitation!
Maybe if he brought Justin Bieber?
As for the Obama apologists that will insist he did get an invite, why has a week gone by without a trip to Paris? It can’t be security concerns, there has been plenty of time for the Secret Service to plan. It can’t be worries about his stature giving credence to the sentiment behind the Paris rally, the rally is over and done. What then has kept him home?
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