Tone Deaf: Obama, Biden, AOC and the Swiss Purchase of F-35s


The dictionary defines tone deaf as “having or showing an obtuse insensitivity or lack of perception particularly in matters of public sentiment, opinion, or taste.” Four recent examples fit the definition perfectly: Obama’s 60th birthday party; President Biden’s jilting the French with a surprise submarine deal with Britain and Australia; AOC’s attending the posh Met Gala and the Swiss buying American fighter jets at a time of tension with their major trading partner, the European Union.

Barrack Obama has every right to celebrate his 60th birthday. You don’t have to be an ex-president to throw a big affair on reaching six decades. But inviting 600 people during the Covid-19 pandemic surely sounds like a precursor to a super spreader event. To add on to the tone deafness is the fact that the event was to take place at his $12 million home on tony Martha’s Vineyard during a time of economic hardship for many Americans. The fact that several of the invitees were “disinvited” because of criticism does not atone for the original sin. Even recognizing that Obama will never run again for public office, the lavishness of the event buried all positive “public sentiment” of the first African American president who came to the Oval Office shooting hoops and made Jesse Jackson cry for joy. Unfortunately, Obama finished his two terms in office with high society ambitions as an unrepentant golfer at elite clubs, a substantial Netflix contract and a mansion on the Vineyard. The humanitarian, humble example of ex-president Jimmy Carter Obama is not. What happened to our South Side brother?
Joe Biden is all multilateralism and unity. That is except when his Trumpian instincts trump all. Talk about America First. The French had a submarine deal with Australia. At least they thought they had one until they discovered that behind their backs the U.S. had worked out a deal with the Brits and Aussies. Tone deaf? Tony Blinken, he of French schooling and a français parfait, didn’t understand how furious the French would be? The French recalled their ambassador to Washington for first time in history. Listen to the words of the French foreign minister about the post-Trump multilateralists’ behind-the-back move: “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do.” The ultimate insult! “I am angry and bitter,” Jean-Yves Le Drian added. “This isn’t done to allies.” Forget Lafayette and the Statue of Liberty. The adage goes: “The United States has no friends, only interests.” Chalk up another case study. As an expert opined: “Make no mistake. This is a crisis, not a spat.” Add on the surprise U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan without fully consulting its NATO allies, and Biden’s foreign policy team sounds like The Best and the Brightest 2.0. 
Oh Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Where has the fiery AOC gone? You are (were?) the heart of the progressive movement. From simple waitress to the halls of Congress, you have epitomized all that the young, super left had hoped for. So, what the hell were you doing at the Met Gala, an event that costs $30,000-per-ticket and whose proceeds go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in NYC. Far from an evening to raise money for girls and women in Afghanistan or stranded children on the southern U.S. border. What were you thinking, to use Jay Leno’s infamous question to Hugh Grant? Now we know you wore a special dress with “Tax the Rich” prominently displayed. But why did you go to the event in the first place? Can one imagine rumpled Bernie showing up in a tux to an event like that? Really.  
And here in Switzerland, the country of consensus and neutrality, tone deafness also exists. The Swiss have been debating for years – consensus and neutrality don’t lend themselves to snap judgments – about purchasing new fighter airplanes. Don’t ask why they need them. (The F-35 can fly up to 2,000 kph. The greatest distance from east to west in Switzerland is 350 kilometres and from north to south almost 220 kilometres. Flying at maximum speed, the F-35s will have to do U-turns to avoid crossing into another country.) At the same time as the jet purchase was debated, the Swiss have been unable to conclude a vital institutional agreement with their major trading partner, the European Union. The competition for the $6 billion deal boiled down to the French and Americans. In the interest of better relations with the EU, it was obvious that the French Rafale was the plane to buy. Mais non. The Swiss government chose the F-35, infuriating the French (Is there a pattern here?) and the Europeans as well as expanding tone-deafness to the Land of Heidi through trans-Atlantic military cooperation. Bravo.
Now this article may be another example of tone-deafness. But, I’m not an ex-president, current president or secretary of state, the darling of the Left or a negotiator of a treaty between Switzerland and the EU. 



Lien permanent 7 commentaires


  • Nous savons que les USA ne sont les amis de personne. Mais c'est aussi le cas des Français. Pour parler un langage que vous comprendrez aisément, les Français sont à l'Europe ce que les USA sont au monde : des impérialistes. Outre le fait que le Rafale est un avion en fin de carrière et le F-35 l'avion du futur, il vaut mieux avoir des faux amis tels les USA qui sont éloignés, et qui apprécient le particularisme suisse face à l'UE, que des faux amis très, très proches, qui ne supportent plus ce village gaulois (oui, les Helvètes étaient une tribu gauloise...) qui leur résiste.

  • Its not unusual to discover that our leaders exempt themselves from their advice to the masses. In today's world, they are likely to get caught. They also use the role of plain average folk when it serves their purpose. AOC has excellent academic credentials which are inconsistent with her bartending stint. She is well qualified in her field. She was constantly involved in activism. When she gets wealthy, her dress will reflect a different message. Not everyone recognizes Elizabeth Warren's very expensive designer clothes and lavish living.
    Since Bernie Sanders became a millionaire, he has raised his disdain bar to billionaire. His 3 homes cost a total of $1,464,000. Now that's a type of socialism one could endorse. His wife's part in the destruction of Burlington College is a black mark on their positions. He wrote a book for profit, his fans proclaim. Isn't that called capitalism? Could have sold it wholesale....
    Another interesting study is Lenin's string of Rolls-Royce autos and the mansion where he lived at life's end. Lenin and Trotsky planned the revolution while living in Switzerland. The Kremlin was a very lucrative Rolls customer. And look at the Vatican. Do people find that a bit in inconsistent with Christian teaching?
    Those in charge, with rare exceptions, live on as grand a scale that they can squeeze from the underlings. They still need funding from big donors. And it shows.

  • "Lenin and Trotsky planned the revolution while living in Switzerland."
    Ouais. A une époque où vraisemblablement la Suisse était un des pays les plus pauvres d'Europe... Et ni l'un ni l'autre ne vivait dans des conditions luxueuses. Bref, pas vraiment un argument. Il y en a des milliers d'autres, pourtant...

  • "the $6 billion deal"

    Et si le millard de "cohésion européenne" était un accompte déguisé pour acheter des Rafales dans un deal de $5 billion ? ... Hmmmm ?

    Au fait, personne n'a remarqué que la fabrication des moteurs d'Ariane va être délocalisée de France en Allemagne ? ... Hmmmmmm ?

    ArianeGroup : les moteurs Vinci quittent Vernon pour l'Allemagne

  • "A une époque où vraisemblablement la Suisse était un des pays les plus pauvres d'Europe"

    Au lieu de "pays les plus pauvres", ne faudrait-il pas plutôt parler des "villes les plus riches" dans les autres pays en Europe ?

    La différence entre l'image du pays rural et celle des villes lumières.

  • While few have known loyalty from the United States, these are fair points to make. Even as the empire collapses, the pull of its coattails endures. But one claim is out of place. The AOC who ran such an effective scam on the voting public was always a tool of the Democratic Party. Eric London's outing of her origins in the ideological training camps of the Party leave no doubt.
    When we factor in the lack of consequences for her Sunrise stunt in Pelosi's office, that she displaced one of Pelosi's competitors, and that Pressley of Boston also unseated a reliable left-of-center vote, we should not be surprised at The Squad's refusal to employ their considerable power. Dressgate was an ugly joke but let's be clear who AOC is.

  • The metaphor 'tone deaf' is problematic here. It is most unlikely that any of the individuals described was unaware of reality. The only person that fits that description for me is Wendell Berry, who seems to truly believe that he is a homesteader, but is a gentleman farmer. He labels coal ash as poison but his family tobacco farm appears OK. He will never own a computer because he is not a machine and plans to keep himself whole as a human being. His wife types/edits all his manuscripts on a Royal typewriter, he boasts. One critic described 'wife' as a low tech energy saving device. A friend now puts the text into a computer as required in today's world.
    Yes, Switz did not join in Lenin's politics but allowed him asylum and his initial revolutionaries met there. Solzhenitsyn's book Lenin in Zurich tells this story.
    Comments here were very thought provoking and helpful.

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