During a surprise musical performance on Wednesday night, secretary of state Antony Blinken tried to convince the State Department he’s got the soul of a blues singer. The stiff-armed, frog-throated diplomat jammed out to a less than rousing rendition of Muddy Waters’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” that left the room full of his subordinates cheering.
“I couldn’t pass up tonight’s opportunity to combine music and diplomacy. Was a pleasure to launch the State Department’s new Global Music Diplomacy Initiative,” Blinken tweeted on Wednesday.
Blinken’s set followed performances from Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters and pop star Gayle. Before beginning, Blinken joked, “If this doesn’t clear the house, I don’t know what will.” Fearing for their jobs, or otherwise deaf, Blinken underlings gave him a standing ovation. Had Cockburn been in attendance, he would have gladly heeded Blinken’s advice and left. Clearly the secretary of state isn’t busy enough if he’s spending his time rocking out. Perhaps Biden could heed the cries from Arlington security contractors and start another war to put a bit more on Blinken’s plate and shut him up?
The impromptu concert kicked off the State Department’s new Global Music Diplomacy Initiative whose goal is to spread peace and democracy abroad through music. According to Blinken, the initiative “will use music to support inclusive economic growth, to expand access to education and to build more resilient societies.” In other words: it will host benefit concerts for Ukraine.
The initiative has also created several esteemed honorifics like the Peace Through Music Award and the new Fulbright Award for an artist in residence at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. According to Blinken, artists from around the world will be rewarded for their efforts to benefit the international cooperation and the environment with their music. Cockburn can’t wait to hear the new hit singles that spring up from the program — “Bridge Over Bloodied Borders,” “Smells Like Sulfur Dioxide,” “Nothing Compares 2 Joe.”
The world’s problems are already on their way to being solved thanks to the initiative. The Philadelphia Orchestra will head to China in November, marking fifty years since its first tour to the country since 1973. Bandleader Herbie Hancock will travel the Middle East, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia. And America’s most important export — rap — is shipping to Nigeria, where US rappers will discuss using music to address conflict. Bring the noise!