Saturday, April 6, 2019

Kindness In Diplomacy

     So many people have written to say such nice things about this piece that I thought it might bear up under a brief extension….

Kindness Goes International

     Foreign Minister Lane Scheisskopf was plainly upset. As there could only be one reason, Whiteman had to repress a smile. He’d known it was coming; the only uncertainty was how soon it would arrive.

     “Mister Prime Minister,” Scheisskopf ventured, “while your refugee policy has admittedly quelled the problem for us domestically, there have been…other consequences.”

     Whiteman nodded. “I assume those consequences are pertinent to your area of responsibility, Lane?”

     “They are, sir.”

     “Well,” Whiteman said, “other nations were never guaranteed to approve of our domestic arrangements. As long as they confine themselves to verbal criticism, I think we can endure it.”

     “Sir, some of them are speaking openly of retaliatory measures.”

     “Of what sorts?”

     “Tariffs and trade barriers.”

     “Ah!” Whiteman allowed his expression to brighten. “What does our nation import from them, Lane?”


     “Come, come! What goods does our country import from those countries? More to the point, how would our people and our economy be affected by the absence of those imports?”

     Scheisskopf was deeply flustered by the inquiry. “Sir, I’m not prepared with that information.”

     “Are you prepared to say which of our domestic industries would be affected by the inability to export to those nations?”

     “No, Mister Prime Minister,” Scheisskopf mumbled. “I’m not.”

     “Hmph.” Whiteman rose from his desk, went to the little bar built into the north wall, and poured himself two fingers of Calvados. “A drink, Lane?”

     “No thank you, sir.”

     “You know,” Whiteman said after a sip, “if you were prepared with that information, it would be a significant datum. It would mean that the consequences of a trade skirmish with those countries would be widely felt, and perhaps deeply enough that our people would feel some pain. As that’s not the case, allow me to say that I’m unconcerned over the matter. Was there anything else?”

     “Yes, sir,” Scheisskopf said after a moment. “The ambassadors of Dumbfuckistan and Upyourassov have urgently requested to meet with you. Today, if possible.”

     Whiteman finally allowed himself to smile. “Of course it’s possible, Lane! I’d be delighted to chat with them. Where are they at the moment?”

     Scheisskopf glanced at his watch. “At this time, sir, I imagine they’d be at their respective embassies.”

     “Well, ring them up! Tell them I’d be happy to see them here, at any time today. But together, Lane. Together only.” Whiteman waved an arm. “My time is limited, but as the refugees could tell you, my hospitality is boundless.”

     Scheisskopf winced, nodded, and departed.

     Whiteman didn’t hear from Scheisskopf until late that afternoon. He sensed that Ambassadors Jihadiki and Jerkovich had wanted one-on-one time with him and were resisting the notion of meeting with him together. But at about four his secretary announced that they had presented themselves as he suggested. The two trooped into the Icosahedron Office, with Scheisskopf in the lead.

     Whiteman remained seated as they entered. “Well, gentlemen? What is it?”

     Both ambassadors bridled at the expression of disdain. They were accustomed to the treatment Whiteman’s predecessors had given them as respected representatives of sovereign states. To be treated as mere supplicants grated on both men’s self-esteem. Scheisskopf was equally upset at the blatant disregard of the diplomatic courtesies, but he kept silent.

     It was Jihadiki who spoke first. “Prime Minister Whiteman, we must protest your treatment of our citizens in the strongest possible terms. What you have done amounts to incarcerating them as criminals, treatment that is explicitly forbidden by the bylaws of the World Council on Refugee Resettlement!”

     “Surely, Ambassador,” Whiteman purred, “you’re aware that my nation is not a member of that council? That we reject its assertions of authority and have never agreed to any of its emissions?”

     “We are,” Jihadiki said, “but—”

     “Then you may consider that point to have been dealt with and dismissed with prejudice, Ambassador.” Whiteman paused and looked off theatrically. “Did I hear you say a moment ago that you were here to protest our treatment of your citizens?

     The Icosahedron Office grew strangely silent. Scheisskopf’s look of anxiety intensified still further.

     Presently Jihadiki said “I meant to say that—”

     “What you did say is what concerns me, Ambassador.” Whiteman chose that moment to rise from his desk and cross his arms over his chest. “Which of your citizens have I mistreated, and when and where?”

     Jihadiki merely glared. Whiteman nodded as if the ambassador had confirmed an important supposition for him.

     “You mentioned refugees in the same sentence with your citizens, Ambassador,” Whiteman said. “From that I infer that the citizens you’re concerned about are in our refugee detention center. Is that or is that not the case?”

     Jihadiki drew a deep breath. “It is, Mister Prime Minister.”

     Whiteman smiled. “Well, in that case,” he said, “I’ll happily order them transferred to your custody—if you’re willing to take personal responsibility for transporting them directly back to your nation. Otherwise, I’m afraid they’ll have to stay in the detention center. They did arrive here illegally, you know.”

     “There is no such thing,” Jerkovich grated, “as an illegal refugee in international law.”

     “And what makes you think,” Whiteman said, “that I have the least concern with ‘international law,’ Ambassador? By conforming to the ‘international law’ of which you speak, the nations of Europe have found themselves overrun by savages that are rapidly destroying their continent. Present trends continuing, twenty-five years from today Europe will be a Third World hellhole indistinguishable from Dumbfuckistan and Upyourassov.” He grinned viciously into their shocked faces. “Why else would the flow of refugees be exclusively from your countries to mine? Did you think I would put a happy gloss on something so obvious, as a gesture of respect to you?

     It took a moment for Jerkovich to find his voice, but when he did it came out at volume.

     “Your attitude toward a sovereign nation is intolerable!” Jerkovich roared. “When I have informed my president there will be repercussions that will rock your nation to its knees.”

     Whiteman shrugged. “Such as?”

     Jerkovich opened his mouth to continue, but closed it without speaking. He glared daggers at Whiteman, who merely smiled.

     Presently Whiteman said “Unless you’re contemplating military action against us, I’m unconcerned with any ‘repercussions’ you have in mind. And if military action is on your agenda, allow me to state quite explicitly that a fifth of our navy could beat the snot out of the whole of yours and be home in time for lunch.” He turned to Jihadiki “I hope your nation isn’t about to make any such threats. I’d be unable to restrain my laughter.”

     There was a thump from the far side of the room as Scheisskopf fainted and collapsed.

     “Never have the representatives of civilized nations been treated so rudely!” Jerkovich screamed. “You will regret this!”

     Whiteman shrugged again. “I don’t think so. But I will refrain from comment on your implication that your two nations are ‘civilized.’ Now, gentlemen, was there anything else? Anything of substance? I do have a country to govern, you know.”

     After a few seconds’ silence he pressed the button that would summon his security detail to escort them out.

     That was fun. And yes, I think there’ll be a third installment. Stay tuned!


Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

Wait I have to buy more popcorn.


If only we had a leader with stones like this.

Linda Fox said...

I'm really enjoying these. The things that you or I might, given the opportunity, say.

A dear friend of mine once told my husband not to ask what I thought, unless he was prepared to hear it - unfiltered.

I haven't changed.

Glen Filthie said...

One day, sooner rather than later, this will be the way of it. It will happen in Europe first,

Terrekain said...


More....take your time. Make it good; never rush genius, and never force it either....the worst thing a great artist can do is to approach his art as a chore rather than a passion.

But More!!!