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Sylvain Charat: Guitars Against Kalashnikovs: A New Balance of Power?

US Secretary of State John Kerry had just finished his speech in the city hall of Paris, on January 15th, when he introduced on stage James Taylor.

The singer came with his guitar and sang “You’ve Got A Friend “.

“When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights… “

Was that a US diplomatic official statement?

“You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am… “

Obama, Obama, where are you?

Well, he was not in Paris with the 3.5 million people on January 11th. Maybe the President’s advisers and experts thought it would be a little French kind of picnic and decided to send only Jane Hartley, US ambassador in Paris.

Unfortunately it happened to be the largest worldwide gathering ever, as well as the biggest US diplomatic “faux-pas”.

Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, acknowledged that a higher-ranked official should have been sent to the oldest ally of the United States, as President Obama considers France.

So, in order to repair this mistake, President Obama decided…not to come to France.

In his stead, sent both his Secretary of State John Kerry (to hug French President Hollande), and James Taylor, to sing a hippie song to the French people.

Is that a new US diplomatic doctrine? Guitars against kalashnikovs?

It is important to find out because on that same very night of January 15th, while the USA was hugging and singing, French, Belgian, and German police forces were fighting to stop and arrest terrorists in Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Not with guitars, but with machine-guns.

Thus, in the Belgian city of Verviers, just 80 miles south of Brussels, an explosion was heard and machine-guns raged. Heavily armed policemen entered a building and aimed at an apartment.

They were shot at and fired back: two former jihadists coming back from Syria were killed and another one was taken alive. Four Kalashnikovs as well as explosives were found in the apartment.

Thirteen other radical islamists were also arrested in the Brussels’ suburb: they had planned a massive and immediate attack against police stations. A Belgian police officier declared that “a Belgian Charlie Hebdo attack has been stopped”.

In Germany, the same night and early morning of January 16th, three special commando forces and 250 policemen arrested other jihadists and radical islamists in several cities as well as in Berlin. An “emir”, sort of war lord, was arrested along with some other would-be terrorists.

In France, also that very same night, 12 people were arrested in the Paris suburb: they were suspected to be linked to the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish super market in Paris.

Last but not least, social tensions are growing, especially in schools where radical Islamism seems to have seduced some students in suburbs. Teachers are fearful and do not know what to do. Anti-muslim aggressions have doubled while threats, bomb alerts and distrust have arisen.

“If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud…”

Obama, Obama, where are you?

Because what is over Europe is no longer a vista of dark clouds, it is almost the perfect storm.

Nice talks and wishes are not needed when machine-guns are firing. Do you hear, Obama?

Well, it seems that, in spite of Kerry’s overflowing good feelings, the subtle message sent by the US diplomacy to Europeans and radical Islamists is quite clear: the US will not take any actions other than symbolic ones.

Radical Islamists should be happy then… and Americans worried for their own security since Obama looks like being all hat and no cattle.

“Oh, yeah, yeah, you’ve got a friend…”… cool, Obama, but we, Europeans and Americans, also got serious enemies.

Sylvain Charat, Ph.D

Editors Note: This article is a exclusive, reprinted with permission via Liberty Alliance


Dr. Sylvain Charat is a graduate from the University of the Sorbonne, Paris, was chief of staff for a former French Minister of Finance in the French National Assembly, and is now a public affairs consultant, specializing in the welfare system. He is also a contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College and

Photo credit snarglebarf

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