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Secretary of State Antony Blinken Mocked for Performing Bizarre Musical Act in Ukrainian Bar

secretary-of-state-antony-blinken-mocked-for-performing-bizarre-musical-act-in-ukrainian-bar
Secretary of State Antony Blinken Mocked for Performing Bizarre Musical Act in Ukrainian Bar

Commentary

 By Samuel Short  May 15, 2024 at 8:15am

President Joe Biden’s State Department is doing an extremely poor job of communicating how dire the situation in Ukraine supposedly is.

In a video posted to X on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken — while on a visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv — can be seen on stage at basement cocktail bar, Barman Dictat, playing Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Blinken was in Kyiv for a public address regarding long-term support for Ukraine in their war against Russia.

After being called on stage by the frontman of the bar’s band, The New York Times reported, Blinken said to bar-goers that Ukrainian soldiers “are fighting not just for a free Ukraine but for the free world — and the free world is with you, too.” Soon after, the band began to play, with Blinken playing guitar and singing along.

Over a thousand US Troops are abandoned in Niger.

And Blinken rocks out in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/ZlpmHsAlQc

— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) May 14, 2024

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida posted the video with the caption, “Over a thousand US Troops are abandoned in Niger. And Blinken rock out in Ukraine.”

Gaetz wasn’t alone in his criticism. Commentator Brick Suit on X said of the same clip, “We gave them $80 billion and he got a gig in a bar.”

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken playing guitar in Ukraine while the world burns.

We gave them $80 billion and he got a gig in a bar. pic.twitter.com/QUuKpe61KO

— Brick Suit (@Brick_Suit) May 14, 2024

Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona chimed in asking, “Could Biden’s foreign policy be any more embarrassing?”

Could Biden’s foreign policy be any more embarrassing? https://t.co/R8gUlb16H6

— Rep. Eli Crane (@RepEliCrane) May 14, 2024

Satirist Olga Bazova lamented, “This is just morbid.”

I haven’t seen a more cynical thing than Blinken having a good ol’ jolly time in a Kiev bar, while the AFU is getting crushed nearly along the whole front line in a while. This is just morbid. pic.twitter.com/hfGPZEyiTh

— Olga Bazova (@OlgaBazova) May 14, 2024

Call it what you will, but Blinken’s actions are unquestionably insulting to every American taxpayer who has had this war thrown in their face to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

There are two ways of judging Blinken for this appearance.

From the perspective of the aforementioned taxpayer, this seems to contradict everything we’ve been hearing about Ukraine’s war with Russia.

Should the U.S. send more support to Ukraine?

To be clear, people must go on with their lives.

Despite a state of war existing, Ukrainians will still go out, play music and drink. They may even be doing more of the latter considering the war.

Yet, Blinken being on stage is not a good look. Ukraine is a hard sell to the American people when officials are playing guitar and carrying on at a bar. It reeks of a smug indulgence that says to taxpayers, “This is where your money is actually going.”

On the other side, those who view the war as a critical and deadly conflict will also hate this display. For them, soldiers are dying at the front in vast contrast to Blinken living it up at a bar.

Blinken recognized the concerns of the war weary as he prefaced his performance by saying, “I know this is a really, really difficult time. Your soldiers, your citizens, particularly in the northeast in Kharkiv, are suffering tremendously. But they need to know, you need to know, the United States is with you, so much of the world is with you.”

Foreign policy is not just meeting with officials and making agreements with foreign governments.

Every decision from one’s words, gestures, and the most seemingly innocuous appearance impacts relations and the public’s perception of those decisions.

Blinken either totally forgot that or made an honest effort that crashed and burned. Had he been insistent on using his talents to communicate to Ukraine Biden’s support for their war, the audience should largely have been active duty and veterans of that war somewhere other than a bar.

Whatever your position on the war and America’s involvement in it, Blinken has clearly erred.


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Sam Short is an Instructor of History with Motlow State Community College in Smyrna, Tennessee. He holds a BA in History from Middle Tennessee State University and an MA in History from University College London.

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