Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So it's Charismatic Megafauna 1; Badass Hyperpower 0

He came with eyes aflame, whifling through the off-gold lobby.

He burbled the Five Tasks:

1) Bilateral assessment of strategy and threats
2) Assessment of different roles
3) Assessment of respective force structures
4) Examination of basing structure for U.S. and Japanese forces
5) Consideration of force presence issues

He accentuated the Many Recent Positives:

· Research Cooperation in Missile Defense
· East Timor
· Operation Enduring Freedom
· Refueling of the Fleets of 10 Nations
· Operation Iraqi Freedom
· Contingencies Legislation
· Launching a Missile Defense Program
· Relaxation of Weapons Exports Rules
· Revised National Defense Guidelines

But he was not finished. He was not satisfied. He needed to diss:

But measured against Japan's capabilities to contribute to international security, and measured against Japan's global interests and the benefits Japan derives from peace and stability around the world, these changes remain quite modest.”

Raise eyebrow. Shift in seat. Think to oneself:

"Mr. Deputy Under Secretary, we are seated no more that 150 meters away from the office of the celebrated Mr. K. himself. All the Japanese networks have their cameras rolling. You are a guest in this country. What is appropriate in a presentation before the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcomittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee might sound discourteous in this neck of the woods, if not within the confines of the particular room you are standing in right now."

But he was not finished, no.

"We must make up for the time we have lost."
Who is this "we" Kemosabe*?

When did this losing of time begin?

How far away is this place where "we" belong?

Do "we" have time for a vote before "we" start off?

"Remained caught up in parochial issues"

Local parochial issues such as, for instance,

- environmental regulations,

- international animal protection treaties,

-judicial precedent,

-local law and

-the opinions of local elected officials?

Then the kicker, at least as I remember it (transcripts and sound recordings are frequently unreliable. MTC memory products, however, are definitive):

"If the security relationship is not brought up to the point where it should be, we will not be able to secure the alliance."

Nice use of the conditional there. Inspires fear. And who is this "we" again?

The Deputy Under Secretary's speech was mighty entertaining, jolting even. "The highlight of the conference so far," RS confided over dinner.

Boy, it sure seemed that this was one American official who was going to grab his Japanese interlocutors by the eri (collar) and tell them what's what and who's who.

But last night, as night fell upon the great city, he must have stood at the window of his hotel and raged at the peaceful, flickering ocean of lights:

"Hearken to my words, my friends. See therein that I threaten you. Look upon my name — LAWLESS — and despair. I am Shiva, devourer of worlds. I am the ugly man with the pretty wife** . I am Sauron with both the Ring and a Ferrari Testarossa. I am the representative of the most awesome killing machine to ever stalk the surface of this planet and I am being GUMMED TO DEATH BY DUGONGS!"
For it was on the next day that the Deputy Under Secretary went before the microphones and signaled surrender.

With a presidency adrift, an official visit looming, a 10 year-old dispute festering and a mild-tempered, extremely endangered sirenian in the way, he was not going to get a promise for an offshore helicopter base any more substantial than the promises made a month ago to the DPRK for a new light-water reactor.

Ah, the mysterious East...kabuki first, then karma.


* Reference to the old Lone Ranger and Tonto joke:

"Tonto, there are 1000 Sioux to the north of us, 2000 Shoshone to east of us, 3000 Cheyenne to the west of us and 4000 Navaho to the south of us. We're surrounded."

"Hmmm...What do you mean by 'we', paleface?"

** In the metaphorical sense, only. Mr. Lawless is no Quasimodo. I know less than nothing about the appearance of Mrs. Lawless.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

MTC, it appears the North Koreans are not the only people who make a show of raising the stakes just before they cut a deal. In fact, this may be a behavioral trait common to US negotiators. Does anyone have a take on this? In other cultures?

And since you mention it, there's also a Far Side cartoon on the meaning of kemosabe, featuring a retired Lone Ranger with a dictionary...