A Phone Call Between Premier Li and President Obama

Premier Li
Thanks for taking my call so early in your morning. I hope Hong forgives me for dragging you out of bed, but I felt it necessary given the circumstances.

As you know our two nations have had our difficulties over the years. I understand that there is a lot of history between us, and I don’t expect bygones to be forgotten on your side any time soon. But the recent history of our two nations should be cause for optimism. I would like to think that you see things have improved between our two great nations since I took office. I have personally worked very hard to give your nation the space it needs to take its place as a true world power. I am not worried that doing so weakens my country, and I have done my best to marginalize those who do. I see a great future between our two countries based on shared responses to common problems such as environmental degradation, rising income inequality and the common prosperity that our two nations can share by working closely together.

But I must speak clearly and forthrightly about the North Korean situation. Here in America we have a saying coined by former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the Pottery Barn Rule. Pottery Barn is a shop common at indoor shopping malls that sells decorative glass and pottery items for around the house, much of which I might add come from factories in your country. If a customer mishandles an item in the store and breaks it, the store has a rule that he or she must buy it. In short, the Pottery Barn rule is if you break it you’ve bought it. Secretary of State Powell spoke in reference to US intervention in Iraq, but I believe the pottery barn rule applies equally to North Korea.

Mr. Premier, make no mistake that everyone knows China owns North Korea. Every American president since Truman understands this, as does every Russian president and Japanese prime minister. We might play along with the notion that North Korea is an independent state in public, but we learned our lesson who owns what there when the Chinese Red Army spilled over the Yalu River some 60 years ago. Some may advise you that our goal is to regain what we lost on the battlefield back then, that we seek a united Korea firmly allied to the United States. Let me reassure you that nothing is further from the truth. I know that the South Koreans have told you the same thing they’ve told us – that they do not wish to do what Germany did in the 1990’s when it reunified. It has taken the Germans over two decades to make reunification work, and it still has a way to go before the living standards are equitable on both sides of the former Berlin Wall. The South Koreans see the disparities between the living standards between North and South as even greater than that between East and West Germany, and know that reunification would bankrupt them and possibly wreck their economy for generations. The South Koreans simply do not want reunification in the foreseeable future, and would much prefer to see North Korea follow your nation’s path to prosperity. Their argument against reunification seems very sensible to me and I see no reason not to believe them.

For decades the North has played a game in which it has threatened my nation and its allies in exchange for this or that. This game was played masterfully by Kim Jung Il, allowing him to acquire nuclear weapons while under UN sanctions.  But Kim Jung Un is not his father. I am very concerned that the young Un truly believes the propaganda dished out to his people by the State, and trusts the views of his advisers who do not understand my position. We have given North Korea as much as we possibly could under my administration, and I simply do not have anything left to give.

I must make this clear: in the event North Korea attacks the United States or its allies, I will personally hold you and your nation accountable. Premier Li, I am a peacemaker as proven by my Nobel Prize. Unlike my immediate predecessor I don’t start wars, I end them. Although I have no interest in a war between our two great nations, an attack by Kim Jung Un will leave me with no choice but to retaliate against China. This will not be a battle of proxies, but one directly between the United States and China. Such a war would be calamitous for our countries. It would result in thousands of deaths on both sides, and send the entire world into distress. And over what? The deluded scion of a hermit kingdom?

Following the Pottery Barn Rule, North Korea is broken and you own it. Therefore you must fix the situation in a manner that you see fit but one that calms the region. It is up to you to handle the North Koreans. There is nothing more that I can do on my side to prevent war. If Kim attacks, I must respond and in a way that you will likely not approve of.

这是谁?

Aw crap. The translator is not working? G-d D*** it! Denis! Get Brin on the line 2 NOW, and while you’re at it give Eric a call and tell him Google is his b***h.

13 Comments

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