Small World: Dial ‘P’ for personal policies
By Henry Precht
Scene: The State Department Operations Center which sends and receives official calls from abroad. The Center’s Chief is reporting to his boss on calls made by the president-elect.
Chief: He said he wanted to go down the country list, starting with “A” and talk to sovereigns. We dialed Albania but they were out and we were shifted to next-door Kosovo. Unfortunately, he learned that they had a gilded statue of Bill Clinton in the main square and hung up.
We moved down to Brazil, but the call to leadership was shifted to the national prison and he quickly hung up on that one too.
He asked that we try France and President Hollande.
Pres-elect: Hallo, Francois, sorry to hear you’re pulling out of the presidency, but I’ve got an idea to cheer you up. I’ve seen those clips of you taking off on your scooter with a girlfriend in the late evening just as we would expect of any great Frenchman. Quelle joie!
What if my new friend Mitt and I came over for a night on the town with you? What? Yeah, he’s married but he’s also a Mormon. Heh-Heh. Any number can play. So, we’ll pop over next week. Make sure you have three scooters and six helmets. Get it?
Chief: “See if you can find me Putin,” he ordered. I dialed.
Pres-elect: How’re you doing, Vlad? Listen. You’re a master of global politics, and I’m just beginning. But I’ve got a deal you can’t refuse: You want the Crimea; we want it back. What’d you say to a golf match between the two of us? Winner takes the territory. Sanctions lifted. If it works out we could try the same in Syria: if I win, Assad goes; if you win, we go.
No. Absolutely not. We are not playing shirtless. I’ve got my dignity. Remember, I’m a billionaire. Maybe I’ll just buy Crimea for a price you can’t refuse.
Chief: “Let’s skip around on the list,” he said. “Try Zimbabwe.” So we got Robert Mugabe on the phone.
Pres-elect: Hey, Robby, thanks for your nice card. I thought you might be interested in the comment our State Department wrote on it, ‘Ex-Freedom Fighter whose policies have ruined his country.’
If that’s true, I’ve got a deal for you. Our friend Chris Christie is being pushed out of New Jersey. You come over and take over the state, ruin it, and I’ll pick it up at a bargain price. Develop it and we’ll make a killing — so to speak.
What’s that — can’t leave home? How about a fall back? I’ll send you 800 recently-unemployed men from Indiana. They know all about growing corn out there. Maybe help you make air conditioners too if you got the electricity working. Great, it’s a deal!
Chief: Then he said “Get me Gambia.” I said the president had just been defeated after a coup and 20 years tyranny. “Get him on the line,” he barked.
Pres-elect: Hello, Mr. Jammeh. I hear you’ve been cheated out of your reelection bid. Well, don’t hang in there but cheer up because I have a better deal for you — help you recoup, so to speak.
You have a small country, plenty of sunshine, fresh water, friendly people, not too many terrorists. Need to put it on the map. What about spinning it into a rest camp or resort for ex-sovereigns and other defunct senior politicians? A kind of Mar a Lago East. Plenty of time for faking memoirs or plotting a return.
I think Obama might easily be the first to sign up. Far preferable to returning to murderous Chicago. Plus, he was born in the neighborhood. And the Middle East is chock full of men whose bags are packed and ready to go as soon at the temperature in the streets heats up a smidgen. Ex-leaders of France, Italy, maybe South Korea, already have open tickets.
Not least, we have several dynasties in this country whose time has run out. A basket of Bushes, as they say. And Clintons in good number. Bill is finished here. Yes, I know Hillary wasn’t a sovereign, but she thought she was and that’s enough. Stay in touch and grab Idi Amin if he’s still circulating.
Henry Precht is a retired Foreign Service Officer.