John Kerry Outsources American Foreign Policy To James Taylor

John Kerry JJames Taylor

With some still criticizing the Administration for not sending a higher-ranking officials to Sunday’s unity rally in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry decided it might be a good idea to stop by Paris on the way home from India. And, to show our French friends that America stands beside them in the fight against terrorism, he brought along a special guest:

Secretary of State John Kerry, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit France since Islamic militant attacks in Paris left 17 dead, met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and French President Francois Hollande to offer condolences this morning.

Kerry, who said he was in France “to share a big hug with Paris,” is also set to lay wreaths at the sites of the two attacks, a State Department official said. Kerry and Hollande embraced as they met in the courtyard of the presidential palace.

“The American people watched you and your team lead with great elegance and grace, and we watched the people of France come together with great sense of purpose and unity,” Kerry said. “It was a great lesson to the world.”

Kerry, who is making his 19th visit to Paris since becoming secretary of state, arrived in Paris on Thursday evening and will be joined by American singer James Taylor, a longtime friend, who will perform a song in tribute to victims of the attacks that killed 17 people.

When I first saw this reported on Twitter this morning, I had to look twice because I was convinced my brain was playing tricks on me. But, no, it’s real:

Don’t worry about those terrorist cells, Europe. We’re sending James Taylor to show you how much we care!

The one thing I’d point out is that The Simpsons did it first. 

FILED UNDER: Europe, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics, World Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Moosebreath says:

    I gues he wanted to tell them “You’ve Got a Friend”.

  2. JKB says:

    Well, when you are leading from behind, I guess sometimes you gotta pull it out of your ….

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    It really makes you wonder what a Kerry presidency would have been like.

  4. CSK says:

    Oh, dear Lawd. From “Lafayette, we are here” to this?????

  5. Slugger says:

    When I was a child and skinned my knee, my Mom would give me a kiss to heal the booboo. It made me feel a little better but did not actually speed healing. Having American officials march in Paris or give their nation a hug is kissing to heal the booboo. It does nothing to address the complex issues of safety, security, justice, and free expression in the world today. While one may have a predisposition to find every possible flaw in the current administration, that predisposition also does not address the problem. I think Obama should have marched in Paris but do not consider it a big deal. I would like to see some intelligent ideas for the best balance of safety and freedom of movement in a world where one can travel from a war zone to a major urban center in a few hours, where ideas can spread instantly via electronic media, and money and goods to support all kinds of goals can be raised rapidly via the electronic media.
    I have a personal belief that freedom is as likely to be endangered by those who are trying to manipulate us via fearmongering as by those who believe that murder can change peoples’ minds. Modern wars kill millions at a time, and I fear politicians who want to declare war every time some marginal people murder a few dozen. I admit that these are my personal beliefs and not universally held truths.
    Less snark; more thought, please.

  6. JKB says:

    Do you get the sense that American foreign policy is run out of a dorm room at Harvard?

  7. ernieyeball says:

    I, for one, welcome our insect overlords…Kent Brockman

    And here they are.

  8. Nikki says:

    So all you RWNJs are now willing to admit that all your whining about Obama not showing up for that march was just that….whining?

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I’m not getting the problem here, other than some people’s visceral dislike for John Kerry. Can someone explain to me what’s bad about having James Taylor sing? I agree we should have at the least sent Holder to the march – there’s no Secret Service craziness around the AG. But as an “Oops, sorry I missed your birthday,” moment, bringing a major cultural contributor like Taylor to a nation that has always had a soft spot for artists does not strike me as a problem.

    I agree with @Slugger: maybe a bit less snark and a bit more substance. Particularly since the most recent outburst of contempt for the president’s foreign policy came when many on the left and right sneered at our reaction to ISIS. Those people were wrong. The administration was right – a fact I have yet to see the critics acknowledge honestly.

    I’m a snarky a-hole myself, but snark absent some intellectual honesty and accountability is pretty contemptible.

    We’ve had 6 years of sneering and snark and contempt heaped on policies and programs which ended up performing very well, two examples being Obamacare and the anti-ISIS coalition. I would never want to suppress any form of expression – certainly not snark – but the snarker who refuses to admit when he’s wrong is just being a sophomoric dick.

    Here’s the reality: Obamacare is working, objectively, demonstrably. The attacks on it, that it would kill jobs, that it would overburden doctors and hospitals, that it would only sign up the sick and needy, turned out to be bulls-it. The American auto industry lives and at minimal cost. . Unemployment is now where it was in Ronald Reagan’s best year, and without growing government or raising taxes as Mr. Reagan did, and in the teeth of active sabotage by the opposition. The economy has been growing for five straight years and outperforms just about every other developed economy on earth.

    Snark? Sure. But without some integrity, some reflection and correction, it is dishonest and obnoxious.

  10. ernieyeball says:

    I have always believed that Rock and Roll Stars have no business in politics…now I know why!

    …Elvis said, “The Beatles had been a real force for anti-American spirit.” He then claimed that “the Beatles came to this country, made their money, and then returned to England where they promoted an anti-American theme.”

    “Those comments put Richard Nixon in the atypical position of being the less-paranoid person in the conversation.”

  11. al-Ameda says:

    French taste in pop culture and music has always been questionable, so this constitutes an upgrade.

    Me personally? I would have sent Vernon Reid and Masque over there.

  12. Davebo says:

    I see the issue already.

    Less “You’ve got a friend” more “Steamroller”.

    Just a simple change in the set would have calmed conservatives.

  13. Davebo says:

    19 trips to Paris does seem to be a fitting penalty for losing to Dubya.

    Mr. Kerry, your debt has now been paid.

  14. wr says:

    What the hell is this new round of assinine whining?

    Doug has formally joined the ODS brigade, to whom anything done by any member of the administration is a black mark on the country.

  15. Franklin says:

    I guess Jerry Lewis was booked.

  16. DrDaveT says:


    Less “You’ve got a friend” more “Steamroller”.

    I was really hoping it was going to be B.S.U.R.S.U.C.S.I.M.I.M. Let ’em try to parse that message…

  17. John says:

    Wow. That was a great SNL skit!

    Wait… What?!

  18. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    For WIIW I find it a good personal gesture.

    On the other hand my reading of the French reactions is that they could very well have done without all the additional police headache of head of state visits in the middle of a manhunt with hostages.

  19. Guarneri says:

    Maybe you can get OTB, Reynolds, to rig the comments section such that the theme to Forrest Gump plays whenever you write one.

    Good Lord.

  20. lounsbury says:

    You people are still on about the non-issue of the non visit to the march?

    What the French actually have paid attention to is the sheer lunatic idiocy of Fox News parroting the American Right Bolshy loon urban legend about no go zones. Oddly the thing that has done most damage to your rep (along with the similar idiocy about Birmingham), is the spouting off of the preferred news channel (using the term loosely) that the Know Nothing Bolshy Right idiots who are yammering on about a faux concern over the reputation impact of the march. Rather worse has been the sheer display of grotesque provincial ignorance and rubishness.

  21. michael reynolds says:


    You being of course the classic example of a man incapable of reflection let alone admissions of error. Drew: wrong about everything, even the sad hope that his on-screen name would give him a patina of class.

  22. bill says:

    jeezus, just when i thought things couldn’t get any gayer……. this is beyond lame.
    so our response to a country being attacked by wackjob muslims is to send a washed up folk singer to sing gay ass granola tunes?! sure, his music can suck the masculinity out of many men but what kind of message does this send?

    and speaking of awkward….

  23. Lounsbury says:

    Gayer…. Suck the masculinity….

    How very interesting the comment.

  24. JKB says:

    This explains a lot. John Kerry: Je suis Charlie

  25. anjin-san says:

    I’ve never really been a fan of Taylor, but I am not seeing how having an iconic artist perform in France is some kind of foreign policy fiasco.

  26. wr says:
  27. Tyrell says:

    So it has taken Sec. Kerry that long to find France. Usual.

  28. bill says:

    @wr: his music’s gay, his ex was smokin’ hot- still looks good for
    woman over 40 and she’s like 60 or so.
    but seriously, didn’t the first thing that popped into your head say “is this a sat night live skit or something”?

  29. wr says:

    @bill: No. And even if I did think it was like a sketch (skits are what you do at summer camp) from SNL, why would that make me think anyone involved is gay? I mean, given that unlike just about every “conservative” comment here I’m not in constant panic over my own masculinity.

  30. al-Ameda says:


    jeezus, just when i thought things couldn’t get any gayer……. this is beyond lame.

    I’ve got to ask the question, Bill:
    Why are conservatives obsessed with homosexuality?

    Again, I wouldn’t have sent James Taylor over there to sing to Hollande and Fabius, but then again the French loved Jerry Lewis, so James Taylor is definitely an improvement over THAT.

  31. grumbles says:

    @JKB: Actually it appears that policy is being run from the Delta Tau Chi Fraternity, frat house.