12 January 2015

Kerry Says He’ll Fly to France to Show U.S. Solidarity

Be fair: He’d be even later if he walked to France instead of flying.

In a bold display of the impeccable timing, profound sensitivity, and strategic planning that made his failed presidential bid an inspiration to so many Republicans in 2004, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Monday that he would fly to Paris at the end of the week in a gesture of support for the French government’s struggle against terrorism.

Kerry is scheduled to arrive nine days after the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead and shocked the nation, and four days after the largest demonstrations in French history united more than 40 world leaders and millions of French citizens calling for liberty and peace.

“The United States has been deeply engaged with France from the moment this horrific event took place,” Kerry told reporters. “But appearances matter. It’s important that the world see for itself the strength of this, our oldest alliance. Let no one doubt when I stand for America and proudly say, ‘Lafayette, we are here’ — less than two weeks after the fact.”

Not pictured: President Obama.
Or the Vice-president, or the First Lady, or the Clintons, or any high-ranking members of Congress, or any of their friends, or any of their friends’ neighbors, or that guy they went to school with, or George Clooney, whom the French really like quite a lot.

Yesterday’s rally in Paris saw Hollande joined by one of his chief political opponents, former President Nicolas Sarkozy; as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, two of France’s historic rivals; Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority; and the President of Ukraine and the Foreign Minister of Russia, setting aside their differences in a display of solidarity.

While more than one million demonstrators converged on Paris’ Place de la République, the ranking American in France yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder, appeared on the Sunday talk shows but did not attend the rally. The U.S. Ambassador to France, whom nobody has ever heard of, represented American interests on the Place de la République.

“I really hated to miss out on the big event,” said Kerry, a former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. “But you know how it is when the Pats are in the playoffs.”

Kerry added, “I’m hoping [French President François] Hollande can organize something while I’m there. Nothing major, just a couple of hundred thousand people. I realize we can’t get all those heads of state to come back to Paris on short notice, but Belgium is close, right? Or Luxembourg. I’m sure Luxembourg isn’t busy right now.”

Kerry will be in France from Thursday night to Friday afternoon, he said, “More than enough time to show the world the importance of this relationship and the seriousness of our mutual response to terrorist threats. Besides, I’ve got to represent the United States at Princess Diana’s funeral. If I don’t hurry, I’ll miss it.”

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