Diplomacy Disaster: Blinken’s Tone-Deaf Night Out in Kyiv

roibu / shutterstock.com
roibu / shutterstock.com

Supporters of Ukraine couldn’t contain their eye rolls as Secretary of State Antony Blinken decided to ditch diplomacy for a gig at a Kyiv basement bar—because nothing says “solidarity in wartime” like rocking out while intense fighting rages in the country’s northeastern part.

Blinken, at the spry age of 62, decided the best way to take a breather from the pesky grind of diplomatic meetings about Russia’s invasion was to grab a guitar and jam with a local band in Kyiv. Nothing screams “I’m solving international crises” like belting out Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” in the middle of a war zone.

While the bar’s patrons cheered Blinken on, the sight of the top US diplomat enjoying himself during an official visit to a warzone did not sit well with many on social media.

Kyiv-based foreign policy analyst Jimmy Rushton expressed his disapproval on X, calling the act “astonishingly tone-deaf.” Rushton said the meeting isn’t supposed to be a “f***ing vacation” and that Ukrainian soldiers are fighting and dying in large numbers; meanwhile, Blinken is in a bar in Kyiv “pretending to be a rockstar.”

Rushton also pointed to the frustration over delays and restrictions imposed by the US, referring to the extended wait for Congress to approve additional military aid to Ukraine.

Rushton’s sentiments were echoed by many other Ukraine supporters on X. One user commented, “Who cares? Did he bring F-16s, PATRIOTs, and NASAMS with him?” Adding that a Neil Young cover won’t defeat Russia.

One person snarked that Blinken was apparently launching a new strategic initiative: defeating Russia with pure cringe. Another asked if we were winning the battle of the bands.

Blinken, was introduced as a “great friend of Ukraine” by one of the band members—who apparently missed the memo on reading the room—Blinken took a moment to remind everyone that, yes, things are pretty grim. “Your soldiers, your citizens – particularly in the northeast, in Kharkiv – are suffering tremendously,” he shared, right before strapping on his guitar because nothing lifts spirits during a crisis like acknowledging a harsh reality and then launching into a rock anthem.