The One Minute Foreign Policy Guru…
Foreign policy is a fast-paced business. Despite the fact that at least someone in the Obama Administration is actually celebrating the art of indecision, you can save the world with snap judgments if you know what you’re doing. I know what I’m doing. To demonstrate I will now solve some of the biggest foreign policy ...
Foreign policy is a fast-paced business. Despite the fact that at least someone in the Obama Administration is actually celebrating the art of indecision, you can save the world with snap judgments if you know what you’re doing. I know what I’m doing.
To demonstrate I will now solve some of the biggest foreign policy problems confronting some of the world’s most important newsmakers in a matter of just a few seconds each. (I will also solve a few lower-grade domestic problems as well.) If you are an important figure on the international stage, just look for your name below. Next to it will be the advice you need in a couple of quick sentences. If you are not a world leader but know one, please feel free to forward this to them.
To Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the Pakistani Muslim League: If you don’t like the provisions of the U.S. aid package, keep it to yourself. Your complaints are precisely how we know the deal has been constructed properly. (Hint: Turn back the Americans who are offering aid and you’ll end up with those who want to make all future deliveries by drone.)
To President Barack Obama: If you think that George’s war (that’d be Iraq) is likely to look better than yours (Afghanistan) in five years — and that’d be my bet right now — then you really do need to listen to the people calling for a change in strategy.
To Manuel Zelaya: Fair or not, your five minutes are just about up…unless you choose to start dating Kate Gosselin. (And if that is Plan B, I have to say, I’d stay locked in the basement of the Brazilian Embassy, too.)
To Kim Jong-Il: You tell Wen Jiabao you want one-on-one talks with the United States to establish peaceful ties as a prelude to returning to the nuclear arms negotiating table? No problem. Two steps: First, ask for them. Second, realize Michael Jackson wrote “The Man(iac) in the Mirror” for you. As in the “how many shrinks does it take to change a lightbulb?” joke, the punchline is that it’s you who’ve really got to want to change.
To Silvio Berlusconi: Are you the one that’s tanned now or is that just a red face? The ruling by the Italian Supreme Court stripping you of immunity from prosecution just because you are Prime Minister certainly seems likely to put a hitch in your mambo Italiano. With three trials going on that involve you or your holdings, you might want to start planning your post government career. (I know your wife has some interesting ideas for what to do with you … or parts of you.)
To Donald Tusk: As Poland’s Prime Minister dealing with a corruption scandal, you have learned some important truths: gambling always produces losers (in your case, the three ministers who have been forced out of your government for corruption) and you can’t beat the house (even if you try by suggesting you’ll fire the anti-corruption official who blew the whistle on your cabinet) … especially if the house is run by the two who stole that stole the moon and you don’t fit in with their plans.
To Robert Mugabe: You say you want better ties with the U.S.? Well, you’re going to need a long rope… Kim Jong-Il has a better shot at restored relations with the United States … by a lot. Frankly, so does Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Frankly, so too does Rufus T. Firefly. Dictator, purge thyself.
To David Letterman: Ok, so far there’s no rumors of foreign affairs in this story. But my advice to you is: continue doing just what you’re doing. The openness is working…on the ratings…and on what’s left of your image. Silvio, you randy slimebag you, pay attention. Old men apparently can screw around with younger women if they are charmingly self-deprecating about it, not political leaders and not you.
To Mazen Abdul Jawad: You may have been condemned to 1,000 lashes in Saudi Arabia for discussing your (kinda gross) sex life on a tv talk show. Here in America (see above), the same thing would actually get you your own talk show. Time to consider relocating…almost anyplace else. And speaking of Saudi outrages…
To Mohammed S. Al Sabban: If, as head of the Saudi delegation to the global climate talks, you are actually as reported going around saying if measures are taken to reduce world dependency on oil that the planet should offer aid to Saudi Arabia … then get used to the idea that you are going to replace the woman who buried her husband in a rented suit as the living embodiment of laughable chutzpah.
To David Axelrod: Stay out of camera shot in photos about major foreign policy decisions. You’re the president’s right hand guy. He needs you: You have the “mind-meld” thing going, offer invaluable advice and by all reports are actually a good guy. Which is why what neither the president nor you need are the uncharitable whispers that you are out-Roving Rove in terms of day-to-day influence over administration operations. (Oh and to Karl Rove, re: your WSJ article that the GOP is winning the health care debate: There’s a reason you guys are out. Wrong again. See the CBO report. The Obama-Baucus bill is getting closer and closer to being a done deal.)
David Rothkopf is a former editor of Foreign Policy and CEO of The FP Group. Twitter: @djrothkopf
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