The White House learned a potent lesson about the value of showing up last week. When 40 heads of state showed up for the anti-terrorism rally in Paris, the United States was conspicuous in its absence. It looked like they were caught by surprise at the size and the prominence of the event.
The error led to a rare admission of error by the White House, and the French government was quick to downplay the snub. But the French people will not forget that the White House was missing in action when it came to “their 9/11.”
Perhaps even more ugly than the attack against the Charlie Hebdo magazine was the event at the kosher deli where four of the hostages were killed. It is causing an exodus of French Jews for the relative safety of Israel as this is not the first anti-semitic action in the nation.
One hopes that the United States will play a meaningful role in ramping up the intelligence capabilities of the French government. That would, indeed, make up for the flat-footed approach to the rally in Paris. It is encouraging to note that the terrorist brothers were already on a no-fly list for U.S. planes.
The French will need to make future determinations about the balance between liberty and security as well. Perhaps, we can help there, too, as a way of atoning for our lack of attendance.