As President-elect last fall, Donald Trump didn’t exactly have the kindest of words for the United Nations. In one of his daily Tweets, he wrote that the UN has “such great potential,” but it has become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad.”
On Tuesday, he addressed that august body of diplomats, letting them know that, “As President of the United States, I will always put America first.” Not wishing to impose American ways on anyone, he urged other leaders to also put their countries and citizens first.
Except, perhaps, in the case of Iran and North Korea. He pretty much made it clear he wanted those countries to finish dead last in the world in everything. He condemned the deal that lifted sanctions in exchange for Iran purportedly curbing its nuclear program. And in reference to the leader of North Korea, he said, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission.”
Since it’s rather apparent that the normal glacial pace of international diplomacy doesn’t really suit Mr. Trump’s style of negotiating, perhaps another way could be found to handle the rogue nations. Striking a new deal with Iran would mean talking with a host of government officials. But in North Korea, one man has his finger on the button. So it might be a little quicker dealing with Kim Jong-Un.
What if, for example, The Donald, Kim Jong-Un, and ever-ready-to-help-keep-the-peace Jimmy Carter all got on the phone together and discuss the avoidance of nuclear war. It’s not unprecedented for sitting presidents to ask for counsel and advice from previous Oval Office occupants. And while I doubt very much if Mr. Trump has chatted with Barack Obama, he may not be averse to getting the peanut farmer involved.
After introductions and pleasantries were exchanged, perhaps the conversation would go something like this:
CARTER: So, Jong-Un, if I may call you that, what is it you’re really after?
JONG-UN: Complete domination of the United States.
CARTER: I see. And you, President Trump?
TRUMP: This guy choking on his gajami sikhae.
CARTER: Okay, well, that’s a good start to our discussion. Thank you both for sharing.
JONG-UN: The Americans want to take over Pyongyang and my whole country.
TRUMP: Are you kidding me? What do you have that we could possibly want?
CARTER: He does have a point there, Jong-Un.
JONG-UN: Doesn’t matter. We have to have a military deterrent to keep Americans and South Koreans out.
TRUMP: Why? Are you afraid your people might like capitalism just a little bit better than your iron fist pounding on their heads all the time?
JONG-UN: My people love me, love their homeland, love their way of life.
TRUMP: Your people are starving. Have you looked around lately? Everybody’s skin and bones. You’re the only fat guy in the whole country.
CARTER: Now, now, there’s no need to get personal here.
JONG-UN: My people can exist on straw and Yalu River water. That’s why we will ultimately win in a fight with the United States. Your people have to have cheeseburgers and French fries three times a week.
CARTER: He does have a point there, Donald.
TRUMP: This is ridiculous. What do you think would happen, Jong-Un, if you decided to lob one of your new missiles into South Korea or Japan or even Alaska?
JONG-UN: The world would see we are a force to be reckoned with.
TRUMP: The world would see a big empty crater where North Korea used to be.
CARTER: That’s an even better point, Jong-Un.
JONG-UN: We will not be bullied.
TRUMP: I’m not being a bully. Those are the facts. You press a button, I press a button. My button’s bigger, and I have more of them.
CARTER: Could we please just concentrate on what we have in common? Jong-Un, you like basketball, right?
CARTER: Mr. President?
TRUMP: College, yes; maybe some interest in the pros when the play-offs start.
CARTER: Well, perhaps we could organize a little basketball diplomacy and play a game or two. How’s that for a beginning?
JONG-UN: Dibs on Dennis Rodman.
TRUMP: Oh, no. He’s on my team.
JONG-UN: No. We get Rodman. Without him, we would never win. The United States is too big and powerful.
TRUMP: Now you’re getting the picture, Rocket Man.
JONG-UN: Tell him to stop calling me that.
CARTER: You’ve got to admit, it is kind of funny.
JONG-UN: (Angrily hanging up) Phone call’s over. We’ll see who has the last laugh.
TRUMP: That went well.
CARTER: (Sighing) It’s a beginning, Donald. Ya gotta start somewhere.
©MMXVII. William J. Lewis, III
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