The commanding site of Air Force One is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The plane carries, among other things, the most powerful person in the world, a cadre of key aides, a few dozen reporters, the most sophisticated communication equipment on the planet, enough food for a month (should the situation arise), and even the Beast, the armor-plated limousine used to transport the Commander-in-Chief on the ground wherever he travels.
As far as I know, it does not carry a port-o-potty. There are facilities on board, of course. But apparently, when nature calls, the President must make do with whatever public convenience is handy when he’s away from his plane.
Not so North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-Un. No, it seems that as part of the leader’s security protocol, his own toilet follows him wherever he goes. Reports indicate that, along with sending out decoy planes from Pyongyang, packing his own food (to prevent poisoning), and only using his personal pens and pencils, Kim keeps his private porcelain throne nearby.
(There’s even a rumor, entirely unsubstantiated, that Kim also demands there be no brown M&Ms in hotel bowls of chocolate.)
Chances are, President Trump and Chairman Kim didn’t discuss the peripatetic privy during their Singapore summit this week. There may have been one or two more important issues to debate. But it would be interesting to know just where the lavatory languished while they chatted. (The corner of the room? The hallway? The lobby?)
Since the initial session for the conference was a tete-a-tete attended only by Trump and Kim (and a couple of interpreters), we may never know exactly what transpired between the two leaders. I do have one guess as to how it all started, however.
When negotiating, Mr. Trump apparently tends to throw a grenade into a room first and ask questions later. So perhaps he said to Kim something such as, “Here’s the deal: You re-locate to Elba. It’s an island off of Italy. Lots of history. Other famous guests have stayed there. Got great beaches, plenty of pasta (it’s obvious you like to eat), and great wine. Take as many sycophants as you want up to, say, 50. All expenses paid. You get a boat, a house, nobody out to get you. In return, all nukes and your Army go bye-bye, we feed your people, Korea becomes Korea again, Kia and Samsung build manufacturing plants, and the U.S. not only shows your people how to really grow rice, but also buys all the extra grains they can produce. The alternative is, we cut you off completely, wipe out your arsenal, starve you like everybody else in the country, and you revert even further back toward the Stone Age. Take it or leave it. I’m out of here in eight hours. The clock’s tickin’.”
Kim probably responded by saying something like, “Now hold on there, Sheriff,” or an equally pithy Korean comeback. That was followed by a counteroffer or two that did not include Kim leaving his hermetic paradise, but did incorporate the destruction of nukes in the deal. Fortunately, there’s little doubt that was the one concession The Donald had in mind anyway. So an agreement was signed.
As time progresses, we’ll all come to find out if the North Korean leader makes good on his promise. As for other matters that were opened up for discussion, those will be negotiated by senior underlings without the principals having to sit across a table from each other again until all is said and done.
In all probability, one of the “must-haves” for Kim now includes a presidential Cadillac like Trump has. Kim got a tour of the vehicle after the signing. Trump might very well have offered the Chairman a deal right on the spot. It seems the President is getting a new car sometime this summer. Perhaps he proposed to sell Kim the used Caddie, make him happy, and pick up a little cash for the U.S. Treasury simultaneously. I don’t think the car has a ton of mileage on it. It definitely has the premium leather seats, upgraded sound system, no-flat tires, and built-in GPS. It gets lousy gas mileage, but the bulletproof windows make up for that shortcoming.
Hopefully, this was all a good start. And since Kim and his aides don’t get out much, you have to wonder if a trip to the St. Regis Hotel and the Sentosa island resort opened their eyes and might elicit a few capitalistic notions. For now though, if I were on the hotel staff, I’d check and see if the delegation liberated the shampoo bottles, towels, and robes. There’s nothing similar to those in Pyongyang, that’s for sure.
©MMXVIII. William J. Lewis, III (Freelance Writer in Atlanta)
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