Roger L. Simon

#BarackNEstPasCharlie: Why Didn't Obama Go to Paris?

It’s sounds like one of Kipling’s “Just So” stories — “Why Didn’t Obama Go to Paris?” … for the #JeSuisCharlie march that brought out millions, including many world leaders, in an attempt to unify all against terrorism.  None of his high-level associates went either – no vice-president, no secretary of State (although John Kerry did express condolences in his supposedly fluent French. Je me demande….).  AG Eric Holder was in Paris and reported to be attending  but at the last moment demurred. He was in a “meeting” — with whom was never specified because most of the world’s leadership was marching in the streets.

So why didn’t POTUS show up?  A liberal friend emailed me that it was admittedly a “political mistake.”  “Political,” yes, but “mistake”?  I doubt the decision was made innocently or even faintly by mistake.   Obama is a man known for his political expediency more than anything, indeed above anything, and also for being a constant campaigner.  It was obvious that going to Paris would have been good public relations and that therefore not attending was a deliberate choice.

There had to have been a reason for his non-attendance and the bizarre dissing of this event by his administration. I believe it stems from this: There are two words our president seems constitutionally unable to put together — “Islamic” and “terrorism.”  For Obama (and, as a sideshow, the zany Howard Dean), these terms are mutually exclusive, an oxymoron.  Appearing in Paris, Obama might be put in the unusual position of having to link them, our complaisant press rarely having the nerve to ask such an impertinent question.  Holder, in a television interview from Paris (I think it was CNN — there have been so many), danced around the question, hemming and hawing as if he couldn’t quite make out what was being said or had been asked an embarrassing question about  IRS emails.

This situation had already been amplified by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls doing something completely outrageous and unjustified, indeed anathema, in the Obama worldview.  He declared war on radical Islam.  From the NYT (who were probably equally mortified):

Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared Saturday that France was at war with radical Islam after the harrowing sieges that led to the deaths of three gunmen and four hostages the day before. New details emerged about the bloody final confrontations, and security forces remained on high alert.

“It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity,” Mr. Valls said during a speech in Évry, south of Paris.

Imagine, the nerve!

Another subject Obama rarely broaches is anti-Semitism, although he might have bit the bullet and mentioned it this time.  Hollande certainly did — and attended sabbath services at the Grand Synagogue of Paris with Netanyahu. … Well, that might have made Obama a tad uncomfortable.   So not going to Paris was a twofer. Also, given a few days, this linkage of terrorism and Islam might die down.  It doesn’t play too well with his de facto open-borders (read: fenceless) policy with Mexico.  More people might realize the obvious.  The immigration problem is small change — one way or the other — compared to the new Boys from Brazil (aka ISIS, al Qaeda, etc.) wading across the Rio Grande and blowing up a few shopping malls.

But have no fear, Barack is holding a “Global Security Summit.”  Never mind that it was postponed and now suddenly re-announced.  What will it be about?  How about free speech is the very lynchpin of a free society (crudely made videos about Mohammed excepted, of course)? Er, probably not. If the summit  were serious — which it of course will not be since it is being arranged by Obama — it should begin with naming the enemy as  French PM Valls did.  Some, even Bill O’Reilly,  ask if that’s really important because we all know it’s Islamic terrorism anyway.  But it is of paramount importance because not naming the enemy, or calling it something factually meaningless like the “War on Terror,” just signals to our adversaries (and to ourselves) that we are too cowardly to tell the truth, that we are pretending, holding our noses and hoping they and it will go away.  Tell that to the victims of Charlie Hebdo and Hypercacher.