Tag Archives: foreign policy

John Kerry accidentally forges historic compromises on Syria chemical weapons, Israeli-Palestinian peace, international financial architecture.

10 Sep

WASHINGTON—an exhausted John Kerry, speaking to reporters in London on Monday, made a random comment about Syrian chemical weapons that may be leading to a historic arms deal. Shortly afterwards, misreading a prepared text, he laid out an innovative approach to an Israeli-Palestinian land-for-peace deal that is now advancing quickly towards completion, and then, dropping his BlackBerry, he mistakenly sent an email that has broken the gridlock on global financial regulation.

“I don’t know what to say,” said Kerry, speaking before the Senate yesterday. “Obviously.”

On Monday, Kerry’s off-the-cuff remark in London about Damascus giving up weapons was seized upon by the Russians and the French. Sources close to the State Department said that immediately afterwards Kerry, instead of proposing that the “Sinai compromise” be used as a basis for the establishment of a Palestinian state, said “Sydney compromise,” which has led to a draft agreement under which representatives from both sides would be allowed unlimited vacation time in Australia in exchange for reaching a deal. He then mistakenly sent an email reading “11%c” to the heads of the ECB and IMF, signalling a potential compromise that international financial institutions could be required to raise their capital levels to 11%, paving the way for a global regulatory accord.

Trying to build on current momentum, Kerry has now hired an infinite number of monkeys, according to staffers, who will be given typewriters to compose official diplomatic cables. “Something good has to come of it,” said a source close to Kerry.

Obama stymied as Gladys Whiskerson, Ohio homemaker, declines to support Syrian strike

6 Sep

PILTON VALLEY, Ohio—in the latest blow to President Obama’s efforts to rally national and international support for punitive action against Syria, his decision to seek permission from Gladys Whiskerson appears to have backfired on him.

Obama, who is said by his staff to be eager to enforce the “red line” he declared last year, had previously said he would strike only if he had support from Congress, the American public, NATO, the European Union, the entire cast of “Friends,” senior executives at Dunkin’ Donuts, and Ms. Whiskerson, a housewife in this small rural community known for her involvement in 4-H and a mean hand at bowling. So far, however, several of those groups have been reluctant to get involved, foremost among them Whiskerson, who called the idea “crazy.”

“I’m just a simple woman who knows apple pie and bowling,” said Whiskerson in a statement. “But I do think that cruise-missile strikes against the Alawite-led Syrian regime are unlikely to increase regional stability in the long run.”

Aides described Obama as “beside himself” at his inability to convince Whiskerson.

“Look, the President is a big fan of gutsy moves in international relations,” said an aide speaking on condition of anonymity. “He’d love nothing more than to enforce his warnings against the use of chemical weapons. But if we can’t get complete unanimity from the seventy-two different groups that he has voluntarily sought approval from, then his hands are completely tied. You can’t expect him to use the constitutional powers of the Presidency without permission.”

On the ground in Syria, the embattled opposition was reported to be “deeply concerned” at the President’s political dilemma. An umbrella group released a statement expressing its “fervent wish” that Obama somehow be able to wriggle his way out of the corner without lasting political damage.

Syrian opposition cheered by news that their fate depends on U.S. Congressional action

1 Sep

ALEPPO–morale among the fragmented opposition here today was buoyed by the news that President Obama is going to ask Congress to vote on possible military intervention in the Syrian civil war.

“If all that stands between us and American support is getting Eric Cantor and Nancy Pelosi to work together, then our victory is assured!” exclaimed Ahmed Al-Jabbour, leader of a small militia based in the suburbs of Aleppo. “Surely they wouldn’t let petty partisan differences get in the way of working together for the common good.”

Supporters of the Assad regime were despondent. “We now face one of the nimblest, shrewdest governments history has ever known,” said General Ibrahim al-Nassour, deputy commander of the Syrian Air Force. “I just don’t see how we can possibly outsmart John Boehner.”

In Washington, in the meantime, the Senate was temporarily shut down while the Republican caucus investigated rumors that Mitch McConnell had once shaken President Obama’s hand “without irony.” In the House, in the meantime, GOP leaders promised swift action on Syria as soon as the ACA is repealed and taxes are cut to a flat $9.95 per capita.

Manning sentenced to 35 years for revealing that Hugo Chavez was a blowhard

22 Aug

WASHINGTON–Bradley Manning, who gave more than 700,000 classified diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, was today sentenced to 35 years in prison for revealing America’s deepest secrets. Among them were the following shockers:

– Hugo Chavez was kind of a “blowhard” and really not very interesting
– Peace between Israel and Palestine is not going to be easy
– Vladimir Putin is a big jerk
– No one wants to work in the American embassy in Equatorial Guinea

“This affair has done grave damage to America’s national security,” said President Obama, apparently referring to the revelation that Canadian trade delegations hosted “dull” receptions at international conferences.

Private Manning was also reduced to the lowest rank in the Army, E1, which experts say could hurt his future career prospects in the military, were he not about to spend most of the rest of his working years in prison and be a pariah.

Obama threatens “really pissy speech” if massacres in Egypt continue

20 Aug

WASHINGTON—taking a forceful response to the ongoing carnage in Egypt, President Obama today warned the military-backed leadership that he was prepared to make a “really pissy speech” if the massacres continued.

“I started with disappointment, then escalated to irritation, and now the continuing bloodshed leaves me no choice but to contemplate sounding really and truly annoyed,” said the President in a speech to the Foreign Policy Association today.

The President clarified that any changes to Egypt’s $1.5 billion aid package were off the table. “Shooting civilians deserves the strongest possible response, short of doing something non-symbolic,” he explained.

The Republican opposition initially classified the massacres as “an outrage” until it was learned that most of the victims were Muslim, at which point the violence was downgraded to “something far away.”

Obama launches drone strikes in response to terror threats in response to drone strikes

13 Aug

SANA, Yemen—responding boldly to an increased threat from al-Qaeda, the Obama administration has stepped up its campaign of drone strikes here, according to local sources, and has been very successful in doing so, eliminating approximately two hundred and twenty al-Qaeda members so far this year.

In an unrelated development, approximately two hundred and twenty Yemenis have joined al-Qaeda so far this year, citing drone strikes as their primary reason for turning to terrorism.

The administration and the CIA have discretely boasted of their successes to key policymakers, citing figures showing that they have already killed more than eighty adult terrorists, thirty baby terrorists, and ninety animal terrorists.

“Just this morning, we killed a woman who was engaged in terrorist laundry,” said a CIA spokesman at a classified briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Yesterday, we destroyed a goat in the process of producing terrorist milk.”

“We will leave no stone unturned in our battle to kill people who want to kill us because we want to kill them,” said the spokesman.

Moderate wins Iranian presidency, presaging no change whatsoever

15 Jun

TEHRAN–in a repudiation of the old-guard theocracy, Iranians turned out in the millions to elect Hassan Rowhani as President, who promised to “take your hopes and dreams and fail to do anything constructive with them,” due to the essentially powerless nature of the Iranian presidency.

“This is a huge turning point for Iranian society,” said Hassem al-Ghabbar, an expert on Iran. “Rowhani now has only four years to disappoint the electorate with his inability to effect any kind of change.”

In Tehran, Rowhani’s supporters packed the streets, demanding change that will certainly be vetoed by a small clique of reactionary old men. Cries for sweeping changes to the political system were interspersed with more radical calls such as abolishing the theocratic regime, or even allowing people to watch television freely or dress as they like.

Rowhani himself was not shy about underlining the differences between himself and his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. “At the end of my term, when I’ve been hopelessly undermined by the clerics and am completely powerless, I assure you–it will be for different reasons!” he shouted, as his supporters went wild.

In Washington, the White House’s reaction was muted. “I think we’ve learned our lesson about making any kind of meaningful policy statement about the Middle East,” said a spokesman.

Emails show White House “double-dog-dared” Benghazi militants to storm consulate

11 May

WASHINGTON–pressure mounted on President Obama today as leaked emails show that not only did he replace the consultate’s armed guards with signs saying “Parking for Packers fans only–all others will be sacked,” but at one point he live-broadcast a message to the mob gathering outside, “double-dog-daring” them to storm the building.

“Look, in retrospect, we might do that differently,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. “Especially the part where the President told them to ‘cowboy up,’ which apparently translates pretty poorly.” Added Carney, “you have to understand that we thought the Packers sign was foolproof–we still don’t know how they got past that one.”

While some called Obama’s actions leading up to the attack on the Benghazi consulate irresponsible, Carney vigorously defended the president. “He made it very clear that, if anything were to happen in Benghazi, he was prepared to exercise his usual decisive leadership.” Pressed for details, Carney explained that militants were warned that Obama “would make an angry televised speech in which he would complain that no one was listening to him.”

Some good news emerged late in the afternoon, when some Republicans started saying that the Benghazi hearings were distracting Congress from important government business. “We haven’t held a meaningless vote to repeal Obamacare in almost three days,” said Eric Cantor.

Obama clarifies: Syria chemical-weapons “ultimatum” more of a “friendly suggestion”

5 May

WASHINGTON–as evidence mounts that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the country’s civil war, President Obama today clarified that his forceful statement that such use would cross a “red line” was not meant to imply that the United States would actually “take any action whatsoever.”

“People read too much into this red-line thing,” said Obama. “I mean, the bus map is covered in red lines. I have some on my tie. It didn’t mean anything.”

Later, Obama complained that “you people think that just because the President makes an unambiguous statement of American policy, he then is supposed to actually do something.”

Asked if there were circumstances under which he would intervene in the Syrian dispute, Obama thought for a moment, and then said that if he had incontrovertible evidence that the government had attacked the United States mainland with nuclear weapons, then “we would certainly have to think about some kind of response.” An aide later clarified that the President had been speaking about sanctions.

Reactions were generally negative. “This guy is some kind of crazy isolationist,” said Senator Rand Paul.

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