Obama to Kim
The Oval Office. First Draft. Internal Circulation Only. Not for Release.
Dear ``Great Successor” Kim:
(Question for Protocol Office: Would ``My Fellow Leader” or ``Jong-un” strike a friendlier tone? Or, given his youth, ``Yo, dawg!” Please research.)
Greetings from the United States! (Question for Defense Secretary: Should we add here ``Home to the Arsenal of Democracy” and/or ``The World’s Most Powerful Military” just so the kid knows who’s in charge? Advise ASAP.)
I was profoundly moved to witness the national weeping, tugging of hair and gnashing of teeth following your father’s ascent to the Great Politbureau in the Sky. (Note to Electoral Campaign Manager: When I cash in my chips, will Americans blubber like this over me? No sir! As a matter of urgency, look into Pyongyang’s propaganda techniques. We have much to learn.)
Upon arrival in that august place, he will no doubt be warmly greeted by other great 20th-century humanitarians such as Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and his own esteemed father. (Note to Security Chief: I know I’m being ironic; you know I’m being ironic; he’ll think I’m being respectful ― but this letter better not leak! If Fox News gets hold of it, we’re sunk.)
Firstly, let me say: Sincere condolences on the death of your father, the ``Dear Leader.” (Note to Presidential Council on Sports: I just read that Kim Sr. was the world’s greatest golfer. Any chance of getting tips on his game?)
Secondly: I assure you that neither I nor my people bear ill will toward you, nor toward the good folks of North Korea. (Question for White House Chief of Staff: Would ``my adoring people” be an exaggeration? Please check latest polls.)
Thirdly: The Kim is dead. Long live the Kim! (Question for Seoul Ambassador: His family acts like an imperial dynasty ― secretive palace dwellers; gourmands; no respect for peasants; good at waving, hand clapping; etc. ― so he’ll get the royal reference, right?)
Now, let me talk man-to-man: It’s not easy at the top. I have my crosses to bear, but you, my young friend, have more. My North Korea experts tell me the following. (Note to CIA Director: Do we actually have any North Korea experts?! If so, I’d like to meet with those jokers ― nobody in DC had a good goddamned clue what was going on up there! The Japanese infiltrated a goddamned sushi chef. Who did we infiltrate? A burger flipper? A cocktail mixer? Squat! We infiltrated squat! I want a full report on this failing on my desk at 06:00, Jan. 1.)
When your old man took power from his old man in 1994, things were not so bleak. For one, the economy was in fair shape and nobody was starving before he was firmly entrenched in power around 1997. But now the United Nations ― a self-righteous mob of irksome loudmouths, I admit ― estimate that one quarter of your people are suffering food shortages.
So, a piece of advice: Lose a few pounds. Give me the green light and I’ll dispatch my own SEAL Personal Training Team over to knock you into shape. (Note to Special Operations Command: If this goes down, I want our very baddest asses on that team.)
And let’s talk diplomacy. When your Dad took power, he had an international nuclear agreement in place, the 1994 Agreed Framework. What legacy has he left you? Sure, you have a few nukes, but you also face international sanctions and global pariah status ― everyone round the world hates your guts. (Note to Self: Why does Bush suddenly spring to mind…?)
My point is: Things do not look bright. (Note to National Meteorological Office: Please check reports of strange phenomenon in North Korean skies following Kim’s death. If things were, in fact, looking bright, we’ll strike this sentence.)
Of course, I have problems too. Thanks to the Texan who held office before yours truly, my boys have had a bellyful of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thanks to our casino bankers, the U.S. economy is heading south. (Note to Self: Damn. I have more in common with Lil’ Kim than I thought…)
The last thing I need is trouble in Korea. And despite what your geriatric generals tell you, it is not in your interests, either. (Note to CIA Black Ops Dept.: Those old guys just love big, shiny medals. Couldn’t we parachute a stash of explosive medals into Pyongyang? Once they pin ‘em on their coats, we press the detonator. Boom! We whack the lot. Feasible?)
So surely, isn’t now the time for a new beginning? You rule the last poverty-stricken economy in the Far East. If we could set aside our differences and start out with trust, who knows what might follow? The enriching possibilities for your people ― and the economic and strategic possibilities for Northeast Asia _ are limitless. (Note to Hillary: No changes to that last graf! This is the big picture, presidential thinking ― i.e. above your pay grade.)
Hoping to hear from you and wishing you a mighty and prosperous 2012.
(Note to White House HR Chief: Mr. Salmon is available for speechwriting, global diplomacy, geo-strategic consultation and foul deeds; services are offered at ludicrously cheap rates. He can be contacted care of this newspaper.)
Andrew Salmon is a Seoul-based reporter and author. His latest work, ``Scorched Earth, Black Snow,” was published in London in June. He can be reached at email@example.com.