The Meeting

In one of the Pentagon’s most secure conference rooms, several floors below ground level, the newly elected US President has arrived for his first top-level security briefing with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During a long and less-than gentile campaign, the competency of the US military was besmirched and battered by the man sitting in the center chair now. On many occasions he’d made statements, widely seen to be disparaging, about the effectiveness of the people in charge of America’s fighting forces. As his victory appeared to be a realistic possibility, he did roll-back some of the more overt insults, but never actually apologized for anything he’d said. 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, all career military men and women at the highest ranks of their respective branches, are tasked with bringing the new Commander in Chief up to speed on the global situations that involve US interests. General Martin Maher, Commandant of the Marines, is currently the Chairman of this distinguished group, and personally assigned to be the President’s military advisor. This was the first time in history that this initial meeting was taking place in the Pentagon, until now it had always been held at the White House and included the Secretary of Defense and many of the president’s other top advisors. 

This President Elect was someone they saw as a special case, requiring a different, and new type of briefing. He had never been a governor, congressman, or Senator. He had made his career as a businessman in the world of finance and real estate development, and he was elected riding atop wave of political dissatisfaction. The American people who voted for him tended to be very conservative and somewhat isolationist. His typical supporter was viewed as a less-educated, political neophyte, dissatisfied with the politics-as-usual liberals who had been in office for the past eight years. This was now the Great American Political Experiment, as they called it, a non-politician running the country like a business, ensuring that everyone would prosper. (Or, so went his campaign promises)

President elect David Summons was not happy about having to come to the Pentagon for this briefing, but since it was his first one, he went along with the unusual request by the Joint Chiefs. He was an impatient man, and not one to easily relinquish total control of a situation. Controlling things was how he’d gotten to the top of the business world, and he was determined to maintain that control as he ran the country now. His team had advised him to acquiesce this one time, if only to get a feel for how the generals were going to deal with him as their Commander in Chief. He remained uneasy, even as the President, when he thought about some of the more outrageous charges he’d made during his campaign. Not the least of which was some blistering attacks on the military leadership during the past administration. 

Now he found himself walking into a subterranean conference room, without any of his closest staff along, to face the very men he’d so thoroughly criticized. He wasn’t sure what to expect, but he planned on letting them know that he was the one calling the shots now – there was a new sheriff in town, and things were going to be different.

“Good morning Mr. President, there’s coffee on the table already, please have a seat, we have a lot to go over in a short amount of time Sir.” General Maher began. “We intend this to be a frank and factual briefing, sans the usual formalities one might engage in at the White House. It’s actually why we requested to do this here, on our turf, so to speak. We wanted the highest level of confidentiality we could possibly have, also the most leeway to speak plainly, Sir.

We do have an outline of the main topics slated for this discussion, but whenever you have questions, please feel free to ask once I am finished speaking. We are going to begin in a somewhat unorthodox fashion, not with the current ‘hottest spots’ but rather with some of the countries you spoke of during your campaign speeches. We felt that some of these were important enough to merit us addressing first, Sir.”

“General, before you launch into a long and rambling history lesson about the evil that we’re fighting around the world, let me tell you that I’m already familiar with our current relationships with the biggest players around the globe. I don’t want to completely short-cut your little demonstration of military powers here, but I also don’t want to rehash a whole bunch of tired facts about keeping good relations with NATO either. I already know from some statements you’ve made, that you’re not happy with my views on relations with Russia, but let me tell you that it’s high time we rethought our old ways of thinking. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we actually had better relations with the Russians? If we could do more business with them and open up new frontiers of trade? Those are just a couple of the new ideas I am going to be pushing in the next few months, so I don’t want to sit through a ‘Russia is a bad place’ lecture. If that’s what you have in mind, lets skip to the end, and discuss my ideas.” He said, with his typical impatience. 

Russia:

“Well, since you brought it up first, let’s begin with Russia then, shall we? General Maher began.

“Sir, your ideas about Russia are complete stereotypes, and are not even remotely based on anything resembling facts. We know you’ve done some business with them in the past, but this isn’t the world of finance or property development here, we’re talking about strategic global politics. So, I suggest you can the childish know-it-all attitude, close your mouth and open your ears for once. Did you know that they spend nearly half of their GDP on their military budget, R&D and covert ops in just about every strategic country around the globe? Sure, you can have a nice little financial arrangement with them, as long as they know they’re getting the best of you, but once they stop thinking that… you’re done. Let me simplify this for you, they will always want the upper hand, in everything they do, with everyone they do it with. Even you, Sir. Period.” General Maher said. 

“Who do you think you’re talking to, General? I don’t like your tone one bit, but since we’re being ‘frank’ as you said, I’ll let it go this time. I may not be a military man, but I do know a lot about Russia, and I disagree with your negative assessment of their political and business culture. 

No, I think you’re totally wrong there General, I’ve made a significant amount of money from the Russians over the past ten years, and I don’t think they were trying to out-do me. The deals I made with them were mutually beneficial, and lucrative. As long as you’ve got something they need, you’re in charge of the deal, period.”

“Really? Like the Moscow Event Center you helped them build? The one near the US embassy there? Well, maybe you’ll see things differently when I tell you that we swept our side of that place weekly, and pulled out no less than forty different bugging devices! Your involvement in the project was the perfect cover for their intelligence spooks to masquerade as carpenters and plant a nest of bug that I’m still not convinced we found all of. Did you have any US contractors on site to represent your interests? No, you didn’t, and they knew it. All you saw was the dollar signs, and all they saw was your ignorance! I bet they all had a good laugh at your expense, and probably thought it was worth the few million they spent to let you put your name on the place too.” Maher said, smiling. 

“I wasn’t informed about them bugging the building, and I did have people on site there who would have told me.”

“What people? The ones you hired there? The undercover KGB guys you thought were architects and contractors? They weren’t going to tell you shit about what was going on there, and neither were we. Maybe you forgot that you weren’t the president then, and didn’t have access to top level security briefings yet? Well, you’re hearing about it now, and this is just one part of our job, trying to get you up to speed with how things really are in the world. Did you really think that everything you saw on Fox News was the end-all of what’s really going on in the world? Shit, even the best news agencies in the world only know what we feed to them… you must know that at least. What sane country on the planet would tell their news people what they’re really up to?”

“I’ve seen some pretty top level exposés on Fox, things I’m sure you didn’t want the people to know about, so don’t tell me that they only know what you want them to.” The President said.

“Jesus, really? Well, I am telling you that, and it’s 100% true. Our operations, whether military, intelligence or diplomatic, are locked up tighter than a tick’s asshole. Let me repeat, the only things the press report on are the things we allow them to know about. Those ‘leaks’ you went on about so much lately? It’s all carefully crafted channels we use to get out what we need to be known. Do you seriously think that we’d telegraph our moves to the rest of the world? You really think we’d let ISIS know that we’re about to start an invigorated air campaign tomorrow? Well, Mr. President, rest assured that when we let that leak, we’ve started the air campaign at least a week before then.”

“Well, I still don’t see how this affects my wanting to improve our relationship with Russia. If they’re bugging our embassy there, then it means they don’t trust us, and want to know what we’re up to. It sounds like they might not be wrong about us either, you can’t tell me that we’re not bugging them too.”

“You goddamned idiot, you simpleton fucking shit head! Jesus Christ, you’d better take over for a minute Bill, I’ve got to step back before I smash-in his puckered-up face.” General Maher said, pointing to Admiral Bill Wilkerson, Commander of the Navy.

“Did you all hear that? Did you all hear that? He just threatened to hit me! I’m the president of the United States, I should fire you right now! Everyone here just heard you threaten to punch me in the face!” President Summons shouted, now red faced and sweating.

“Sit back down Sir, things will go a lot more smoothly if you’d do that, and also try to keep from saying anything more, if you can possibly do so.” Admiral Wilkerson said.

“What? Are you crazy too? You heard him threaten me, I want something done about it, now!”

“No one heard anything of the sort, Sir. In fact, I’m pretty sure we all think you imagined that, possibly after dozing off during a very important security briefing. So, if you’ve nothing further to contribute, I think you should sit down, and shut up before Martin decks you, Sir.” Wilkerson said, with an appreciable tone of disrespect. 

The president elect was an arrogant man, but not a completely stupid one. He saw what was happening now, and decided that he would play along until he could safely get out of there. Then these self-important bastards would all be replaced, by men he could trust. Perhaps he’d even explore the possibility that there didn’t actually need to be military people in these positions. He’d look into that as soon as he could, but for now he was going to have to listen to more of this world history lesson.

“Let’s move on to the destabilized middle east.” Admiral Wilkerson continued. “Countries that were former dictatorships, have now destabilized into clusterfucks of tribal rivalries that will take decades to normalize. You mentioned Syria, do you even understand what’s going on there? Who all the players are? You asked about dropping a missile on the leader there, without even thinking about that being an obvious war crime!  Let alone the fact that they’re backed by Russia, and us engaging fully with them would be the beginning of a new world war. Is that what you’d like your legacy to be? I know I sure as hell don’t want it to be mine!” Admiral Wilkerson said.

“Well, what the hell are we doing there then? Don’t give me that ‘fighting ISIS’ story either, I know it was always more than that.” The president said.

“What we’re doing there is trying our best to keep the lids on several boiling pots all at once. It’s a strategic area, and one that has been shaky from the beginning. Now it’s even more unstable, and we’re walking a fine line between support and interference. Look, we can’t just pretend that we haven’t been screwing with the Middle East for decades, and our allies have been doing so for centuries. The goddamned Brits have redrawn the maps there for a few hundred years, and then just stood by and watched while we tried to clean it up. Between them, the Russians, and ourselves, we’ve pumped in enough military hardware for a damn farmer to take over a country. You may not think much of ISIS, but let me tell you they’re a force to be reckoned with now that they’re organized and mobile. We’re helping the Iraqis take back towns that we’d liberated just 5 years ago! And we’re getting shot at with some of our own weapons.”

“So, what happens if we just pull out of the whole area?  If we get everyone out of there, and as much of our hardware as we possibly can, what’s the worst-case scenario then?” He asked.

“Right now, it’d be about a 50-50 chance that Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan would all eventually fall to ISIS and the Taliban. After those go, it’s just a matter of time until Turkey, Egypt and Jordan go the same way. We’d end up on the ground protecting Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and India. Essentially World War Three. Add to that, Israel suddenly feeling vulnerable and maybe launching a nuke or two, which would lead Pakistan and Iran to do the same thing, and we’ve just played a part in the single biggest annihilation of human beings in history. We’d be hated by about half the globe, the price of oil would quadruple in a day; and then, just after that, the price of everything would take off like a ruptured duck. So, if you think it’s a clusterfuck over there now, well it’s nothing compared to what it could be like.” Admiral Wilkerson said.

European allies:

“Perhaps we need to lean on our NATO allies to pitch in a whole lot more, to help keep those countries under control. They do so little now, it’s always been almost entirely up to us to manage those areas. Half of NATO doesn’t pay their share of the costs, and some are probably making their own deals behind out backs. I don’t really trust any of them.” President Summons said.

“Well, another string of pearls has dropped out of the baby’s ass. Christ, what you know about NATO could fit in a thimble, and to doubt the commitment of our allies? You couldn’t have made a more illustrative statement exposing how much of international political failure you are. Did you take any history courses in those gilded schools you allegedly attended? I’ll tell you what, I’ll play nice for a minute here; there may be one member of NATO that isn’t fully committed to what it stands for, but that’s about it. To bring into question long-time allies like Britain, France or Germany is just unbelievably ignorant. Do you even know how long France has been an ally to us? And Great Britain? It’s been two centuries since we’ve had any real issues with those two, and sure, Germany had a couple of bad decades a while back, but they’re one hundred percent ally now!” Wilkerson said.

“What they’re committed to is our money General. They’ve been at our nipple since World War Two, and they’re still there. Every time we make moves to cut back on the aid we dole out, they bring up the Russian boogie-man as a way to keep us in the deal. Well, I’m tired of that excuse, they can’t justify it anymore, Russia is a friend now.”

“Damn, you really do believe that, don’t you? I guess I must have been giving you the benefit of the doubt these past few weeks since I first heard that. I assumed you were pulling some kind of chess-move to get something from the Russians… but, you really believe that they’re an ally now! Holy shit Maher, you were right about him. Sir, NATO intercepts, almost daily, classified communications inside Russia that contain covert operations information. The Russians have operatives in nearly every single westernized country, and even more in the middle east. They look for every opportunity to exploit our allies and our enemies to their advantage. But, sticking to Western Europe for a moment, those allies of our are always receiving data on Russian troop movements, their naval assets, and even their spy satellites looking down on all of us. They’re our first line of defense if Russia ever decides to make a bold move somewhere in that part of the world. If you don’t think the Russians have long range plans to regain some of the territory they lost when the Soviet Union collapsed… well, think again. When and if that starts, NATO will be the first responders to come to the aid of possible weak targets like the Ukraine or Finland. Believe you me, we’ll be there too, we’re not going to let that power hungry narcissist take over any more territory than he’s already got. We’ve made commitments to those countries, as they have to us, and I’ll be damned if we’re going to let them down. They’re on the front lines of a potential world war three, and it’s up to us to keep those lines well defined and safe for them.”

China: 

“China’s a whole different story, in the sense that they’re always portrayed as the inscrutable bad guys, and that’s a stereotype you can lay at our own feet. Why we can all thank the world of big business for our current national feelings about China, because it was they who mainly spread the notions we have about that nation. I mean, here’s a people who actually helped build industrial America, and in less than one hundred years later, they’re seen at the consummate evil nation.” General Maher said.

“Now, here’s where you’re wrong Admiral, I know quite a bit about China, more than most people do, and I can tell you that they truly are a nation that’s never satisfied with any arrangement. I’ve made plenty of business deals with China, and in nearly every case, in less than a year, they’re trying to renegotiate for either more money, cheaper supplies, or a lower production quota. Almost every time, and It’s annoying to say the least General. They are a particularly difficult to satisfy people, and it’s only through good contracts that we’re able to keep their nit-picking to a minimum. So, don’t give me some story about how great they are, I imagine that there’s some good folks over there, but there’s also some selfish little dictators there too.”

“Spoken like a true capitalist Sir, I can see this is going to be an enlightening discussion for you. Now, before you go getting yourself all wound up, let me explain why we’re bringing up China in the light of economics, and not militarily. It’s simply because almost every conflict we’ve had with them in the past half century had its beginnings in economics. Even their involvement in Vietnam started with them coming to the aid of their ally who was getting a royal screwing by the French. We jump in to help our long-time ally, and they jump in to help theirs, and boom, we’ve got a little war.” Admiral Wilkerson said.

“A little war? I guess at your level, a war that costs thousands of American lives was a ‘little war’ to you? I don’t think the American people remember Vietnam as a little war Admiral, I think they still see it as a terrible time in our history. It’s still seen as one of the only conflicts that we didn’t win, and that’s what sits hard in the minds of our people. Americans don’t like not winning General, I’m sure you’ve heard that before.” Summons said.

“Winning, you say? Please tell me what the ‘win’ would have looked like in Vietnam, Mr. President. Why, please enlighten all of us, so we might carry forward this new information to our respective branches. I’m sure all of our people will be eternally grateful for such wisdom.” General Maher interjected.

“I don’t appreciate your sarcastic tone General, not one bit. That said, I will tell you what winning looks like; we should have kept carpet bombing them into submission, that’s what! We should have never backed out of there like a fighter who threw in the white towel. I think we should have doubled our military efforts, and kept hammering them until they were the ones who threw in the towel first. You can’t tell me that we didn’t have the capabilities to do just that. We didn’t even put nukes on the table back then, and we had more of them than any nation in the world. You don’t think that one, well-placed nuke, could have turned the tide of that conflict?” Summons shouted.

“Goddamn, you really are as much of an idiot as everyone says you are. A “well placed nuke”? What the fuck is that?” General Maher asked loudly. “Perhaps you mean a well-placed nuclear marker to commemorate exactly where World War III began? I swear, it sure seems like everything you think you know about the world has come straight from some television show. You live in your golden tower, high above the rest of us, so I guess it’s no wonder that you can’t see the real world. By 1970, the Chinese were tired of spending millions on a conflict that wasn’t going to get them anything but a few more decades of a small allies sucking at their teat, as they nursed them into global adolescence. They let us know that they were prepared to escalate to whatever level we were willing to raise it to, and then raise us a bit more. You seem to forget that they were the local guys there, they didn’t have to ship their tanks half way around the globe to put them on the battlefield. Hell, they knew that even if they just kept the conflict at a virtual draw for long enough, we’d go bankrupt in another five years. But, unlike us, they also wanted to bring the casualty rate down, or stop it all together if they could. We were bombing the shit out of everything we saw as a threat, and we saw everything there as a threat. Do you even know why we don’t ‘carpet bomb anyone into submission’ anymore Sir? That’s because we saw what it did back then, and found it pretty damn hard to live with in the long run. And even as we were doing that bombing you speak so highly of, not one person in the White House ever thought to ask the big question; What was this all really about? The answer was business and economics, plain and simple. That war could have been stopped in the mid 60’s if the Secretary of State would have just asked the Chinese how we could stop the fighting, and we’d of all come out of it looking good. Instead, we went ahead and beat the drum of fighting communism, until we’d lost tens of thousands of lives. I personally think it’s a little ironic that we pulled out when we did mostly for economic reasons too. It makes me sad to think about all of those lives lost, on both sides, simply because Western powers wanted cheap products made by what almost anyone would have called slave-labor.” General Maher said, pushing his chair back from the table.

“Oh my God, you’re a liberal! A liberal General? I can’t believe that the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a bleeding-heart liberal, and no one has any idea. This is good General, very good, for me at least. Now I’m starting to understand what’s going on here, and what’s been going on for the past eight years. No wonder we’re not winning any wars lately, we’ve got military leaders who are afraid to get their hands dirty. Well, that’s going to change very soon, believe me, very soon!” The President said.

“Sir, I will remind you again to mind your manners, and sit tight until we’re done here. Another thing I’ll caution you about is the labeling, there’s absolutely no need for it in here. Throwing around labels like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ just allow us to entrench ourselves behind safe walls so we can lob grenades at each other. They’re just generalizations anyway, and they mean very little in the real world other than to pigeon-hole someone so you don’t actually have to try and understand their point of view. What say we just talk and listen? Now, where was I? Oh, right, China. Those ungrateful contract re-negotiators, as you called them. I can imagine that you really don’t like it when they come to the realization that they’re getting screwed and they try to fix that. In fact, I bet that really pisses you off, doesn’t it? Your people work so hard to craft a contract for the manufacture of some product, with the lowest labor costs you can possibly manage, and flexible, yet unrealistic production goals that can never be met… am I close here? So, when the workers at some anonymous plant, out in the middle of nowhere, who are getting wages about a tenth of what an American makes, all begin to complain – you see it as an egregious contract violation. When the managers of said-plant start to tell the owners that their workers are either walking off the job, or worse, jumping off the top of the building, you still see it as a violation of your deal.” Admiral Wilkerson said.

“Well, in the strictest sense, it is breaking from a legal contract. I see that you think it’s my fault if their workers are unhappy with the conditions over there. Well, it’s not. Most of those workers didn’t even have a job before we opened a factory in their little towns. Many were farmers, or scavengers living off the land. Suddenly, they get to learn a trade, and perform a job for money, money like they’ve never seen before. And, of course they’re not making what a worker here would make, but that’s not even close to a fair comparison. The cost of living there is vastly different than here, so their compensations is usually commensurate with that. No one is making slaves out of them, no one is forcing them to jump off buildings. Like with any business contract, we do deal for a certain level of production, you’d be crazy not to; and, there’s built-in disincentives if those goals aren’t met by the contracted plant. Again, none of this is either new, or made up by me, or my people. It’s all been going on for decades.”

President Summons didn’t like how he sounded just then, a little too defensive for his intended purposes. General Maher pointed at General Alexander Coop, Commander of the US Army, who then spoke quietly into a phone in front of him. Moments later the door to the room opened, and a woman who looked familiar to President Summons, entered the conference room.

“Sir, I’m sure you must recognize former Labor Secretary Lisa Schiff. She’s agreed to help us out here, to explain the intimate relationship between global economics and national defense issues.” General Maher said.

President Summons nodded at Ms. Schiff, but truthfully didn’t actually recognize her. His mood darkened as he realized that this was going to be another lecture about global politics.

“Good morning Mr. President. I was brought up to speed by General Maher’s assistant while I was waiting outside, so I’ll just jump right in to where I think this was heading. Let me pose a question to you; tell me what you think is wrong with the concept of all workers being paid a fair wage for their labors, no matter what country they’re in?” She asked.

“What’s wrong with it? I think that depends on what perspective you’re seeing it from, Ms. Schiff. This seems a little like a trick question, but I’ll answer it anyway, because I know plenty about this particular issue. What’s wrong with that is it will cause tremendous inflation all around the globe. If it cost the same amount of money to make a shirt in Fiji, as it does to make one here in America, then shirts all over the world are going to quadruple in price. Then, sales of shirts will plummet, and stores and manufacturers will both go out of business, causing massive unemployment. It just isn’t practical, it’s not good business, it’s not smart.”

“Sir, I didn’t say that workers would all be paid what the ones in the US get paid, I said a fair wage for their labor. That ‘fairness’ would be based on their country’s overall economic standing, GDP and cost of living. There’s actually some fairly brilliant people at the State Department who have been publishing just such a document annually. The report shows the fair labor wage for each country in the world, based on a very impressive and extensive yearly census.” She countered.

“That’s all fine, but you still can’t honestly tell me that prices for the good those countries manufacture wouldn’t instantly rise. Of course they would, and we’d all be paying a lot more for everything we buy. People wouldn’t stand for that, they’re too used to paying what they do now for a shirt, they’re not going to want that to double.”

“With all due respect Sir, I disagree completely. I was just on vacation in Hawaii, and in a very tourist-trap area we walked through, there were merchants selling souvenir T-shirts for $1 each. If you bought $20 wort of them, they’d even throw in two more for you. As I understand it, that was fairly typical for the area, shirts for one dollar, or less. But, it’s also ridiculous. No shirts should actually cost that little, so perhaps they’re what they call loss-leaders? I don’t know, but what I do know is that those shirts were made in Sri Lanka, by actual workers who probably make less than one dollar a day. So, I ask you, do you really think the souvenir T-shirt business would tank if those shirts cost two dollars?”

“That’s a pretty specific example Ms. Schiff, and not very representative of the products I was thinking of. T-shirts are junk products, no one would care if they were $5 each, but people don’t really need those, do they? Apply your same thinking to the manufacture of something more desirable, like TVs or cell phones, and you’d see a public revolt over those doubling in price, believe me.” President Summons said.

“Really? You think so? As I recall, the first flat screen TVs cost thousands of dollars when they first went on sale. Same thing with those first cell phones too. Then the prices gradually came down as the competition grew, and the amount of them on the market rose. But even before the process fell, the TVs and the phones were selling quite well. So well, in fact, that it’s what inspired the makers to invest in more and larger factories to turn out more product. But, I think we’ve strayed off point a bit here, and I’d like to get back to how this all relates to national, and even international security. Your earlier statements about China always wanting to renegotiate contracts, that’s a good place to go back to. Because I think you know full and well why they do that, and it’s not because they’re duplicitous.”

“Look, a contract is a contract, you don’t try to renegotiate it until it expires. If we have specific service level agreements in it, we expect those to be honored, or there will be penalties. That’s fairly standard business practice, nothing out of the ordinary about it.”  

“Except, maybe that you, and the other business doers overseas, all tend to do these contracts with companies that have little foreign experience. You dazzle the owners with big fancy dinners out on the town, and then manipulate them into signing a contract that they haven’t had time to actually read. When they realize that they can’t keep up with the production levels you’ve set, they attempt to get a hold of you to see if they can be lowered to a more realistic level. But, no, you won’t let that happen – and just about then those penalties you mentioned kick in, and they get about half the money they thought they were going to. Since the company gets less, the workers also get less, even though they’re working 16 hour days trying to meet the quotas. Under conditions like that, most workers would go on strike until something got worked out, oh, but that’s right, you already knew that their government doesn’t allow that. It looks bad, and they have a culture that abhors looking bad in front of others.”

President Summons begins slow-clapping.

“Very nice Ms. Schiff, very nice indeed. You’ve come a long way to explain to me how foreign manufacturing deal work, even though I already know all about them. Was there a point in there somewhere?”

“The point, Sir, is that had businesses like your own decided to exercise even an ounce of morality, our relationships with about twenty countries would be completely different. The demonstrations in those countries, the ones you work so hard to spin as just anti-American unrest, are actually more about them demanding their human rights – from us. Word gets around, doesn’t it? And, I bet that makes you mad too, having to pull up stakes in one impoverished country, to move to another one that doesn’t know the game yet. When all that time, all you had to do was pay a standard living wage to those people, and make contracts that aren’t trap-laden and slanted in your favor. You could have used data that was readily available to you, and come up with a plan that would have led to a long lasting and trusting relationship. Myself, and about one hundred other experts all agree that our relationship with China would be completely different right now, had that been done. The good news is that it’s not too late to change things, as President you have a unique platform from which you can influence others to start doing the right thing.” She said.

“And I would do that because what? Because you say I should? Because these generals say I should? I guess I should also just ignore that I would be the laughing stock of the corporate world by the end of the week? I can tell you right now, Ms. Schiff, and you too Generals, that’s not going to happen. I’m not going to be the catalyst that starts a domino effect of failure in American business. Inflation would rise, stocks would tumble, and billions of dollars would be lost in a matter of days. And for what? So we can be the feel good nation of the world?” Summons asked.

“You’ll do it because we want to avoid an all-out trade war with the Pacific Rim, that’s why! Haven’t you even thought about what benefits might come from better relations with China, and the rest of the countries you’re exploiting? What’s wrong with the idea of people, no matter where they live, getting a fair wage for their work? We have economists at the State Department who have worked out the numbers and they favor this line of reasoning by a huge margin. Greed breeds contempt and rebellion, history has proven that out hundreds of times, and you need to learn from that.” Ms Schiff answered.

Admiral Wilkerson motioned for Ms. Schiff to disengage with the President. He was worried that things might degrade into a personal argument, and the opportunity to get through to this man would be lost.

“Let’s move on to other areas shall we?” Admiral Wilkerson said.

Japan & Korea et al: 

“Japan is our closest ally in the pacific rim, and as quiet as they seem, there’s much more going on there than you have any idea about. Between them, and the South Koreans, they’re the ones who are really keeping the lid on North Korea, and the nut that’s their leader. Did you know that Kim Jong-Dim launched an actual live warhead at Japan last year? Well, of course you didn’t. We might be one of a very small number of countries that even saw it. It could have been their best missile they ever launched too, but we all watched as it suddenly disintegrated about one mile above its launch site. Our clearest satellite pictures, looked at frame by frame, show the missile launch just fine, no issues detected. The engine, although not nearly as good as even our smallest ones, was still providing the thrust it needed to get to its programmed altitude, but then suddenly it looks like the picture goes out of focus. The missile gets blurry, and then within about five seconds, it’s gone, nothing there but one more second of thruster fire and smoke. Like it just dissolved from tip to tail right before our eyes, so to speak. Now, we haven’t ever gotten official confirmation on this, but reliable sources in South Korea told us that it was Japan’s doing. We can only speculate that they’ve developed some type of nanotechnology that was dispersed somewhere just above the launch site, like an invisible cloud. When the missile was detected, that cloud of micro-robots disassembled and digested that rocket on a molecular level.”

“You’re not kidding about this, are you? What the hell? How is that even possible? Do we have that technology?” The president asked.

“Hell no, we don’t have that. And, officially at least, we don’t positively know they have it either. As for how it’s possible; Japan has spent the past seventy-five years in R&D, without having to spend a fraction of what most countries do on their military budgets. Back in the late 60’s when they began to dominate the electronics field, they saw exponential advances in tech areas that we were still using rocks and sticks in. I’d say that since the 90’s they’ve had some fantastic advancements in their defensive research. Now, I don’t know if the same thing would have happened, had North Korea launched several missiles at once, but what we believe we saw was the end-game where launched ordinance is concerned. The good news here is that Japan is a very close ally, and we’re already negotiating for more technology exchanges. Furthermore; as for our own defenses, we’re lucky that Kim Ding-Dong is so preoccupied with his little missiles, that he hasn’t really looked up in a while. We have five of our Far-Reach satellites in a geosynchronous orbit above his launch sites, so if the Japanese don’t get it done, we will. As things stand right now, if we see as much as flicker of rocket fire, we’re dropping those bunker busters before his birds even leave their silos.” Admiral Wilkerson said.

The President asks about aliens and spaceships:

(he actually believes the Govt has alien bodies in storage somewhere)

“Sir, I believe you’re basing your um, beliefs, on some science fiction movies you’ve seen in the past. There’s no alien bodies being preserved in an underground facility somewhere. Not anywhere on this entire planet, as far as we know.” General Coop said.

“You’re really going to stick with that story, General? I’ve already heard that you folks think that the president doesn’t need to know some things, and I’m guessing this is number one on your list. Let me just say that I am not going to give up so easily as the last guy. I’m going to have people looking in to this, really good people who know how to find things.” The president said.

“Mr. President, I assure you that we are not keeping something like that a secret from you. Furthermore, do you really think that we could have kept something like that a secret for over half a century? Even the Chinese couldn’t pull off something like that, and they’re experts at secret keeping. There’s almost nothing that any one country could possibly keep a secret past a ten year mark. There’s no possible way in the world that it could go on for decades, not a chance in hell. I’m sorry Sir, but there’s simply no truth to that whatsoever.” Said General Ann Steele, commander of the US Air Force.

“Really? What about Roswell? That was all fake too? Even though there were witnesses who said they saw a spacecraft and bodies with their own eyes? I suppose all of those people were lying?” Summons asked.

“Yes Sir, they all were at least exaggerating to an extreme. Sometimes a really good alien story turns out to actually be an errant weather balloon Sir, just like the Air Force investigation said it was back then. I know it’s not as intriguing as a huge government cover-up, but often the truth is quite plain.” General Steele said.

“Okay, just for the sake of this conversation, then what’s going on at that Area 51 if it’s not what I thought it was?”

“Sir, every modern country in the developed world has at least one secret base where they do their research and development of new military assets. What you know as Area 51, used to be one of our research bases, that was up until it became famous from sci-fi books and conspiracy movies. It is still a heavily secured base of operations, but not for our highest-level projects anymore. It’s a bit too visible now for that kind of thing.”

                                                                 To Be Continued…