Blinken Rocks as Ukraine Bleeds

Brendan Smialowski/Pool photo via AP

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Wednesday. The visit was meant to signal Kyiv about U.S. support and solidarity with the Ukrainian government and people. 


Obviously, the best way for Blinken to do this would be to go to a famous bar in Kyiv, pick up a guitar, and play a few riffs of Neil Young's anti-American anthem "Rockin' in the Free World."

NBC News reports, "Wearing a tucked-in black shirt and blue jeans and wielding a cherry red Epiphone guitar," Blinken addressed the crowd. 

“I know this is a really, really difficult time. Your soldiers, your citizens, particularly in the northeast in Kharkiv, are suffering tremendously,” he said. “But they need to know, you need to know, the United States is with you. They’re fighting not just for a free Ukraine but for the free world.”

At this point, Blinken and the band "19.99" began a rousing rendition of Neil Young's classic from 1989 with Blinken's guitar conspicuously and embarrassingly out of tune.

Many Ukrainians were angered by Blinken's tone-deafness. Indeed, as Blinken talked about the suffering of the Ukrainian people, he made merry with a band at a pub.

Ukraine is in a battle for its very existence as an independent state. Was this really the best way to show American solidarity with a nation in a fight for its life?

Reacting to Blinken's performance, Bohdan Yaremenko, a lawmaker with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s party, said on Facebook, “Six months of waiting for the decision of the American Congress” has “taken the lives of very, very many defenders of the free world,” he wrote. 


“Yes, we are very grateful for the vital help of the United States. Without it, we would probably have lost this war,” he said. “But we also can’t unsee everything that gives the impression that what the United States performs for the free world is not rock ’n’ roll, but some other music similar to Russian chanson” — referring to Russian folk music.

Oleh Symoroz, a wounded Ukrainian veteran, thought the performance was simply "tactless and inappropriate.” 

He wrote on X, “Not the right time, not the right time at all. So many people die every day because we don’t have enough weapons and enough support from our allies.”

He suggested for the “secretary of state to visit a military cemetery instead of a bar.” 

Republicans were equally angered by the performance.


Fox News:

The New York Times wryly noted Young's song was hardly a "rah rah" anthem about the United States.

"Critics might question the song choice: the Canadian-born Mr. Young is no American nationalist, and the song’s lyrics are cutting about the state of an America with young mothers addicted to drugs, and mocked President George H.W. Bush’s promise of a ‘kinder, gentler’ nation," a Times report stated.

However, it added the fact it went viral was something of a coup for the State Department after Blinken's earlier speech after support for Ukraine going forward was "something less than a hit on social media."

When you think about it, it's pretty pathetic that they have to stoop to gimmicks like this to get their message out.


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