Thursday, January 05, 2006

Blue in the Gills -- Whose Strategy is This Anyway? 

Steven Spielberg is unnecessarily humble about his strategic geo-political influence in a Time exclusive interview:

"I don't think any movie or any book or any work of art can solve the stalemate in the Middle East today," director Steven Spielberg tells TIME in an exclusive cover-story interview. "But it's certainly worth a try," Spielberg says.
Maybe he's right. Maybe his movies can't change the world, but his visionary diplomatic thinking sure can. Spielberg, a seasoned veteran of many Hollywood dustups, offers sage, strategic advice to political entities trapped in ongoing conflict:

"The only thing that's going to solve this is rational minds, a lot of sitting down and talking until you're blue in the gills," says Spielberg.
Hey, if this wisdom helped negotiate Richard Dreyfuss's residuals, what can't it do?

Many mock this sort of advice as naive, asserting it would force Israel to supplicate before those who are bombing her civilians. Nevertheless, I must point out that Spielberg's practical diplomatic suggestions are already being effectively put to use, reshaping some of the globe's most dangerous confrontations. Let's take a quick look at just a few of the ways in which his strategy is already helping resolve conflicts around the world.

[Camera fades in, slow zoom...]

Scene I
Deep in Iranian Central Command, Bravo Bunker

Scientist:But, Your Beardedness, the UN inspectors will discover our enrichment activities. We should take the Russian's offer, before it is too late!
Ayatollah Isotopah:Nonsense! Silence! By the will of Allah most merciful I will have you killed if you speak again. Do you understand?
Ayatollah Isotopah:Very good. Now, here's what we will do. You...
Ayatollah Isotopah:Yes you! You will help bring about the ultimate victory of the Islamic world and Iran's supremacy within it, as well as the complete annihilation of those sons and daughters of pigs and monkeys and three-toed sloths by using a new strategy -- one I have just thought of myself.
Negotiator:Allah be praised, what must I do?
Ayatollah Isotopah:Old Glass-is-half-empty over here is going to continue isolating the Uranium two-thirty-whatever, build the bomb, mount it on the missile, enter the GPS coordinates of that non-existent nation and hit the fire button. You, however, will have the most important, most glorious job of all. You must engage the infidel bufoons in idle chit-chat as long as it takes, until they are blue in the gills if need be. Your job is to buy us the time we need.

[As the sound of sinister snickering echoes through the room, the camera pans out and then fades in to a new scene of conflict that requires Spielberg's strategic genius.]

Scene II
The salon of a swanky Ramallah residence

Masked Hamas Leader:It is impossible, there is no way we can continue the Intifada against the Zionists. We have not had time to smuggle enough weapons, the Katyusha from Syria, the anti-aircraft missiles from Egypt! We must enter negotiations at once.
Mahmoud Abbas:Silence, you cowering pile of dung. Is it not enough that I write all of your press releases AND plan the infiltration routes for all of your martyrs, all the while having to play the fool just to keep the stupid diplomarks off my back? Must I do all your thinking as well?
Masked Hamas Leader:Yes, Prime Minister.
Mahmoud Abbas:Now, these weapons. If I can help you get them, will you use them unto the last drop of brave Palestinian blood at your diposal, until the Jihad's complete victory?
Masked Hamas Leader:Yes, of course Prime Minister, it's just that the men are tired and...
Mahmoud Abbas:Silence, you whimpering weasel! Now, how much more time do you need to get these weapons?
Masked Hamas Leader:Well...only about... I would say maybe a couple months... but there's no way we can hold out until...
Mahmoud Abbas:Shut your humus hole, you worthless son of a Zionist. Stick to blowing yourselves up, leave the thinking to me. What you don't understand is that I have a master plan. While you continue tunneling and smuggling, I will engage the enemy in idle chit chat, all in the name of working towards peaceful negotiations. I will get them to talk until they are blue in the gills, it will be easy. I will buy you the time you need. Now go and bring me victory!

[As the sound of sinister snickering echoes through the salon, the camera pans out and then fades in to a new scene of conflict that requires Spielberg's strategic genius.]

Scene III
North Korean Presidential Palace #38, Sauna Steam Room #14:

General Song:Your Revered Jucheness, permission to speak?
Kim Jong Il:...
General Song:...
Kim Jong Il:Ok General, but first, can you hum the theme song to the Jetsons? It's right on the tip of my tongue but I just can't quite get it.
General Song:hmm umm hmmmmmmmm
Kim Jong Il:Enough of your nonsense! What do you want with me you fool! Can't you see I'm busy having my cuticles done?
General Song:Your Wonderful Worshipedness, of course. I just need to report the latest intelligence briefing. It seems that American restrictions on luxury auto importers as well as speed boat distributors are making it harder and harder to replenish your fleet. We estimate that, at present levels of wreckage, you will be carless and boatless by the end of the summer.
Kim Jong Il:But... but I haven't finished starving all my citizens yet, those whiny malcontents. And the bomb, I might not be able to finish my bomb! Oh no, all is ruined!
Cuticle Slave:(slaps Kim Jong Il across face)  snap out of it Your Poofy Hairness, there is still a Songun way...
Kim Jong Il:Oooh goody, tell me of this Juche idea, that I may embody it, and I will let you do my pedicure too!
Cuticle Slave:...
Kim Jong Il:Ok! Ok! A bag of rice for your family, now spill it!
Cuticle Slave:All you need is to buy a little more time to finish starving the populace, and the bombs are almost done. So don't give in to the pressure. Call the Europeans, they must have some spare parts they could offer, if they believed you could help them embarrass the Americans. Just engage in idle chit chat, in the name of negotiations. You know how much they love to talk until they're blue in the gills. All you need to do is buy just a little more time.

[As the sound of sinister snickering echoes through the salon, the camera pans out and we are left a moment of quiet in which to contemplate the powerful effect of Spielberg's strategic genius].

So let's not sell this strategy short. It never pays to underestimate the mind of the man who saved Private Ryan, brought ET safely home, and managed to keep Tom Cruise under control long enough to make War of the Worlds. Let's give Spielberg's devoted students enough time to show the world how his ideas can help finish these conflicts, once and for all.

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