Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
29 April 2017
Potus is sitting in the Oval Office, complaining of his workload and wondering what to do. He has an idea. He is surprised at this as he is not really an ideas man. He addresses his gopher.
The Donald (DT) : Get me the phone!
Gopher (G): Sir, you already have it in your hand.
DT: So I have, so I have. Smart of you to spot it. I had my hand behind my head – the hand with the phone in it – so naturally I didn’t know I was holding it.
G: Can I be of any further assistance, Mr President?
DT: Yes, tell me why I wanted the phone?
G: Perhaps to speak to a President, I mean a President who is not you.
DT: Yes, Yes, that’s a good idea. But which President?
G: Well, there’s the Chinese President and the Japanese President and the President of Mexico and there’s that nice President Putin who seems put out at the moment for some reason…
DT: People get upset at just about everything nowadays. Perhaps it’s because we have just bombed his towel-head friend…that Basher chap or whatever he’s called. These foreigners all have foreign names. How can any one remember who they are? Why don’t they just have straightforward names like anyone else? Donald, for instance? This world would be a better place if more people were called Donald. Doncha think?
G: Sure do, Mr President. Sure do.
DT: Isn’t there any other President I could ring. I always ring the same people. I need to inject some variety into my life. It’s so boring always making small talk with the same Presidents.
G: Well, Mr President, there are about 150 Presidents in the world that you could ring. There’s the President of Iran, for instance, or the President of France, or the President of Kazakhstan….or you could maybe try the President of our allies in South Korea?
DT: Yes, that’s it. I knew there was some President I wanted to talk to. I have a deal I want to make with those South Koreans. Here’s the goddam phone! Get me the President of South Korea!
Gopher is on the phone for five minutes. Reports back crestfallen.
G: Unfortunately, Mr President, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea is under house arrest. She’s been impeached.
DT: What do you mean, she’s under house arrest? What’s she doing under house arrest at a time like this? Doesn’t she know there’s a war on? Or at least there soon will be if I have anything to do with it. This is ridiculous. She’s let me down. What am I going to do?
G: Perhaps ring the Vice-President of South Korea?
DT: Great idea! Get me the Vice-President!
Gopher is on the phone for five minutes. DT chews a banana. Gopher returns.
G: Here he is, Sir. It’s Mr Kim, the acting Vice-President of South Korea.
DT picks up the phone.
DT: Hi, Jim! What’s the weather like in Tokyo these days?
Kim: Mumble mumble mumble.
DT: Sounds like the line is not too good. It doesn’t matter, anyway. You don’t need to speak. You just need to listen. OK, compadre?
Kim: Mumble mumble mumble.
DT: Jim, you may not know this yet, but last night I installed some Thud missile launchers in your country right up against the North Korean border. OK? Yes, I know it’s OK. You don’t need to answer. Well, now you’re real safe, coz those Thuds can shoot your northern relative’s missiles right out of the sky – that’s if they haven’t exploded on take-off as they usually do. But I’m real sorry that we had to base them on a golf course. That’s the worst part of this whole mission. I mean I know about golf courses. I’m very particular about them. In fact, we have one at a nice place called Mar-a-Lago down in Florida. Fancy a round, by the way? Naturally, special rates for you, my Chink friend.
Mr Kim: Mumble mumble mumble.
DT: I take that to be a yes. I’ll get the Vice-President Mr Pence to arrange it. He doesn’t have much to do. In fact, that’s actually his job, they tell, me – doing nothing. It’s a funny old place this White House, takes some gettin’ used to. Now back to business. I’ll be straight with you, Jim. I like you personally, although I’ve never seen you and maybe never will – except at Mar-a-Lago, of course. Well, Jim, I’m going to cut you a deal that you won’t be able to refuse. I am going to charge you only one billion US dollars – remember, by the way, US dollars, not some worthless foreign bucks – for the privilege of our basing our Thud missiles in your backyard. Jim, you are a very lucky man. I have done many deals in my life but you have got the best price that I have ever given to a Chinese Vice-President. Congratulations!
Gopher intervenes gingerly.
G: Excuse me, Mr President, but with the greatest respect I think you’re talking to the South Korean Vice-President.
DT: Is that so? Well, I’m not at all surprised. Those Orientals are all just asking to get mixed up. They speak different lingos and yet they look all the same. Anyway, I don’t think Jim’ll mind. I’ve been getting on real well with him. We’ve just clinched a great deal! He was so grateful for our Thuds. In fact, I’m thinking of sending him some more. The price will probably go up in the meantime, of course. But then that’s business and those Japs sure know about business. After all, we taught them all about it after we bombed the living daylights out of them in one of those wars.
DT turns back to the phone.
DT: Hi Jim, sorry to keep you waiting. My assistant here was suggesting that I had called you the Chinese Vice-President. Well, maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, who knows? But it doesn’t really matter in any case what I call you. The important thing is that you know who you are. And I am sure you do. A deal-maker like you, Jim, sure knows who he is. In any case, I don’t need to tell you that Korea used to be a part of China. You’re Japanese and you know that already. Or was Korea a part of Japan?
Silence from Mr Kim. Not even a mumble.
DT: That guy’s not answering. Fix him back up for me.
Gopher is on the phone for five minutes. Potus eats another banana. Gopher returns, ashen-faced.
G: Mr President, I have bad news for you. Mr Kim, he’s dead. He’s just dropped dead of a heart attack!
DT: No problem. Stuff happens, as they say. At least he wasn’t impeached like the other guy. Get me another banana. I can’t say it bothers me too much, to be honest. I didn’t even know the guy, although I have to say he was a pleasure to do business with. Now you go and get the protocol guys to fax over pronto to wherever my friend Jim came from a contract confirming the deal I made with him. Jim may have passed away but the business lives on.
DT cogitates:….All the same, come to think of it, it’s a darn pity our friend Jim’s no longer around to benefit from his plan to take out a lifetime subscription to the golf club at Mar-a-Lago….But wait a minute, here’s a thought. Couldn’t we fix him up with preposterous membership – and charge him pro rata? Could be a cool deal for the club. He’d be paying his dues for ever!
Gopher: Yessir! You’re on the money there, for sure. Sounds like another of your light-bulb moments!…A lot of people might agree with you that this a preposterous idea, but I’m wondering, with due respect, whether you might perhaps have been thinking of posthumous rather than preposterous?
DT: Could be, could be. One word is as good as another as far as I am concerned. In any case, I always tell people, “listen to what I’m thinking, not what I’m saying.”
Gopher: That seems very sound advice, Sir. And now, if you don’t mind, I’ll be getting along to have that contract faxed out lickety-split.
DT: Right then! That’s enough bananas for tonight…I must go and see Melania now. We’ve got a dinner date upcoming. Don’t disturb me again unless it’s really necessary. And tell folks not to worry whatever happens. I’ve got my finger on the button.
DT and gopher exit by separate doors from the Oval Office.
It is a starlit night in Washington DC…and once again there is Peace on Earth to all Men of Good Will.
A grateful nation sinks into a deep slumber.
But which nation?
Readers might usefully check out our blog of 25 April 2017 Lost at sea for the background to this blog.
Otherwise, we are grateful to an article in the Financial Times (FT) of 29/30 April 2017: “US demands on S Korea prompt backlash”.
According to the FT, the Donald informed South Korea that “it would be appropriate if they paid” for Thaad (which we have called “Thud” in our skit above, since presumably at some point in the action something or other will come down to earth with a thud).
According to Wikipedia, “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD is a United States Army anti-ballistic missile system which is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach.”
According to the FT, the Donald also reiterated the administration’s intention to renegotiate or terminate the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Moon Jae-in, candidate for the opposition Democratic Party in the Soouth Korean presidential election scheduled for 9 May 2017, is not happy. His sp0kesman said: “We should think about whether [US demands in respect] of South Korea’s unilaterally shouldering the cost [of the Thaad deployment] and of scrapping the Korea-US FTA without close bilateral consultation are in line with the two countries’ alliance.”
Antigone1984: very polite the South Koreans are, as you can see. They certainly know how to defuse tension.
However, the problems don’t end there.
According to the FT, the Donald’s comments are only the latests to spark alarm in South Korea. “Officials expressed private shock this week when Mr Trump phoned Beijing and Tokyo but not Seoul ahead of an anticipated provocation by North Korea.”
Park Hui-rak, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, said: “The current situation is very serious. South Korea is facing a situation where the country has become marginalised by its neighbours and excluded from dialogue on North Korea.”
It seems, not implausibly, that the installation of the Thaad base in South Korea has also sparked a reaction in China, which (according to the FT) has targeted South Korean conglomerates, such as Hyundai and Lotte, with retaliatory punitive measures. “Beijing fears that the base’s radar could be used to spy on its own military developments,” according to the FT.
Antigone1984: Beijing’s fears are justified. They will undoubtedly be used for that purpose. One feels even more sorry for the 50 million South Koreans. It is as if they were citizens of Monaco or San Marino. They now realise that they just don’t count. They are not important enough. Antigone1984 would draw another crucial lesson (which we may develop in a later blog): steer clear of alliances and stay on good terms, so far as possible, with all the world. Nobody is going to nuke Switzerland. By contrast, regardless of the fact that Estonia (population 1.5 million) is a member of NATO, the USA is not going to go to its assistance against Russia if New York or Chicago is likely to be nuked in retaliation. Get real, f0lks!
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
- Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
- Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
- The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
- Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
- Ladder (21 June 2012)
- A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
- A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
- Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.