More than one million people marched in Paris, showing unity against the threat of Islamic extremism. In their number were over 50 world leaders. French President Hollande attended. So did Briish Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Where was Barack Obama? As a former community organizer one would have thought he’d have jumped at the chance to march with a mass of people in city streets.
Supposedly Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris. Whether he donned his invisibility cloak to blend in with the marchers, sat it out in his hotel room, or perhaps wasn’t actually in Paris remains to be seen. To date he hasn’t been seen.
That more than 50 other world leaders – to include both the Israeli Prime Minister and Palestinian President – could make it into Paris and Barack Obama couldn’t is telling. That the highest ranking US official dispatched to represent America is a low on the totem pole guy like Eric Holder is too. Biden could have been sent. John Kerry. Chuck Hagel. All rank higher as far as positions in the Presidential Cabinet go. The Attorney General is the guy that gets picked?
Oh, that’s right. Eric Holder is going to represent the United States at a meeting to talk about the attacks. Then, next month in Washington the White House is convening another meeting. Just last night a newspaper in Hamburg, Germany was firebombed by a radical Islamist. Rather than meet this week while a whole bunch of world leaders are already assembled in Paris, the meeting will take place next month. In Washington. Because one more meeting is all we need to figure out the way ahead in addressing the threat posed by radical Islam.
It’s not as if there have never been attacks before. One need not go back to the attack on the World Trade Center – either the February 1993 or September 11, 2001 attacks, take your pick. The Boston Marathon was bombed in 2013. The same year British Soldier Lee Rigby was violently hacked to death in broad daylight on a London street. One would have to have been living under a rock to not be aware of the regular YouTube footage showing Islamic State radicals severing heads from the torsos of their captives.
No wonder the administration’s bold move is to convene a meeting to talk about it. A meeting renders the problem an academic one while giving the perception of action. That academic rendering puts it in Obama’s comfort zone. Just like that cozy faculty lounge in which he lazily spent his days as a professor, he’ll be able to spout off the usual blame America first dribble complete with pleas that we “empathize and understand” — to borrow from Hillary Clinton — our adversaries.
Isn’t this what we’ve come to expect from a man who can scarcely bring himself to say the word “terrorism” and who’s boldest move against the alleged North Korean Sony hack-attack was to ban Pyongyang from using US dollars and bar North Korean elites from visitng the US even though they don’t visit the US to begin with? Leading from behind indeed.
The perception of action will help the mainstream media to wipe away Obama’s absence from Paris. It will help them ignore that while 50 other world leaders boldly and publicly took a stand to say “no” to radicalized Islam, Obama chose to vote “present” by staying home and sending the number-seven ranking official in his administration to represent America in Paris.