Secretary of State John Kerry is sucking up to the French, trying to bolster the government of Francois Hollande and keep them in his tiny "Coalition of the Not Very Willing" countries who will back the US in an attack on Syria.
To prove the point, Kerry spoke in French at a joint press avail with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, delighting the puriists in France while giving Kerry the opportunity to show a little flattery to his erstwhile - and nervous - partner in attacking Assad.
French, it is said, is the language of love.
An IFOP poll published on Saturday showed 68 percent of French were against an intervention in Syria.
While Kerry's performance might be seen as flattering a French government that is one of the few to back U.S. President Barack Obama's call for air strikes to deter Syria from using chemical arms, it may help convince a skeptical French public.
Not to be outdone, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius broke a taboo by speaking in English at a news conference in the Foreign Ministry's elegant building on the banks of the Seine, where he once chided a reporter, "Here, sir, we speak French."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flaunted his fluency in the language on Saturday to deliver something of a love letter to France, one of the few world powers that seems likely to join the United States in any military action against Syria.
Following the British parliament's August 29 vote to reject any British use of force against Syria, which the United States accuses of gassing its own people with sarin, France has made no secret of its desire to play Washington's supporting partner.
Speaking in French for eight minutes beneath the gold-painted cherubs of one of the Quai d'Orsay's elegant salons, Kerry traced the history of U.S.-French relations beginning from the American Revolution, while glossing over their many tiffs.
"When he visited General de Gaulle in Paris more than 50 years ago, President Kennedy said, and I quote, 'The relationship between France and the United States is crucially important for the preservation of liberty in the whole world,'" Kerry said.
"Today, faced with the brutal chemical weapons attacks in Syria, that relationship evoked by President Kennedy is more crucial than ever," he added.
President Hollande is being urged to take the question of Syrian intervention to the French parliament, but it is probable he wouldn't have any more luck than Cameron in Great Britain or Obama here in the US.
So much for "democracy" in France.