Phoenix, July 18, 2015 – For the musically inclined, this foreign policy is for you.
The Obama administration often makes parody a challenge because, well, because it so often is a parody of itself – usually without even trying.
A clear case in point was the recent appearance in France of Secretary of State John Kerry and his friend, singer-songwriter James Taylor. Kerry brought Taylor over to perform the song (actually written by Carol King) “You’ve Got A Friend” at an event at the Paris city hall.
I am quite fond of James Taylor’s music and own most of his albums, but this seemed a bit, well, odd.
The point, as near as we can tell, was to show the French people that America really does stand with them. Forget the complete lack of empathy shown by the United States government towards the French following the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.
For the massive rally that drew more than 40 world leaders and millions to Paris in a show of solidarity for free speech and opposition to Islamic terrorism, the highest ranking US official that we could muster was, I think, John Kerry’s lawn guy.
Barack Obama was unable to attend as it occurred on a Sunday and he simply could not miss his morning Zumba class. Joe Biden could have gone, but he wasn’t sure France was still a country, what with the European Union being, you know, a union.
Kerry might have also showed up but it was on such short notice and he hadn’t gotten the okay from his wife.
Hence, we are left with what will surely come to be known as the James Taylor debacle. Granted, the song is fine, but the lyrics don’t exactly reflect the official response from the United States government following the Paris terror attacks.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you have to do is call and I’ll be there.
Um, not exactly!
Warren Zevon died in 2003 which, while not a good thing for him (or his fans), may have at least avoided an international diplomatic incident.
Had Zevon still been alive, Kerry may have been tempted to bring him to Paris to sing his song “The French Inhaler.”
And when the lights came up at two
I caught a glimpse of you
And your face looked like something
Death brought with him in his suitcase
I think those lyrics may have been a bit offensive to French President François Hollande.
But, clearly the Obama administration thinks it’s on to something.
We can expect many other popular musical acts from the 70’s and 80’s to play a big role in foreign policy for the remaining two years of his second term. Given the rousing success of the Kerry-Taylor overture in Paris, who could blame them? Here is what we may be able to look forward to in the near future:
The Obama administration could look for a substitute for the late Zevon to pay a diplomatic visit Israel. Given Obama’s lukewarm (I’m being generous) attitude toward Israel, surely he would like someone to serenade Benjamin Netanyahu with Zevon’s song “If You Won’t Leave Me, I’ll Find Somebody Who Will.”
And if that doesn’t work, Linda Ronstadt can be dispatched to sing “Your No Good.”
With Obama’s recent announcement to normalize relations with the communist dictatorship in Cuba, we could expect to see Al Green singing “Let’s Stay Together” to Raul Castro in Havana.
Obama seems desperate not to offend Iran, even as it continues its march towards becoming a nuclear state. So desperate, in fact, that we might see Jimmy Buffett enlisted to sing his “Desperation Samba” to the Iranian Ayatollahs.
Relations with Vladimir Putin haven’t been so great lately. Obama was so sure that relations between the United States and Russia were solid he famously offered to be “flexible” after he won a second term.
Coming from Obama, “flexible” to Putin – and the rest of the world – was easily viewed as a sign of capitulation or, worse, weakness. In an effort to smooth things over, Obama could send the 90’s female pop trio Exposé over to the Kremlin to sing “I’ll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me.”
I don’t think it’ll have much of an effect on Putin, but I’m pretty sure that Kerry will want to hug somebody.
It seems that no matter how many Islamic terrorist attacks there are, this administration remains steadfast in its unwillingness to label Islamic terrorism for what it is.
Surely, at an upcoming White House press briefing when this subject is raised again we can expect Josh Earnest to be replaced by Hall and Oates to sing “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do).”
Barack Obama has never lacked for self-esteem, no matter how unwarranted it may be. Just to be sure there is no lack of understanding on this subject internationally, the next time he addresses the United Nations General Assembly he may bring Martin Mull along to sing “I’m Everyone I’ve Ever Loved.”
That’ll surely go over well.
Maybe it’s time for the American people to get into the act as well. Perhaps, we could enlist Jimmy Webb (the songwriter, not the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate) to sing “If You See Me Getting Smaller I’m Leaving” on behalf of Barack Obama.
And on behalf of many Americans, allow me to say that we do – and maybe he should think about it!