Editor’s Note: David A. Andelman, visiting scholar at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School and director of its Red Lines Project, is a contributor to CNN, where his columns won the 2017 Deadline Club Award for best opinion writing. Author of “A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today,” he was formerly a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Asia and Europe. Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.
Watching the video that President Donald Trump showed on his iPad to Kim Jong Un in Singapore this week inspired me to compose the following satirical letter.
Dear Mr. President:
As someone who has spent his life in the media, I was most impressed by the trailer for “A Story of Opportunity” that you produced for an audience of one – Chairman Kim Jong Un. (Though perhaps he might be prevailed to showcase it in a broader opening in Pyongyang at some point, if he were provided with sufficient incentives – perhaps a few points or a percentage of the gross?)
Allow me, then, to suggest that this might indeed be the start of a most compelling franchise that could be used to good effect with the leaders, even the broader public, in a host of other locations that you are seeking to move in your direction toward peace – and a world led by America and Donald J. Trump.
So, permit me to offer some treatments for similar efforts that you could unveil to these individuals and, through us, the media assembled for the upfronts, to the world.
Russia: ‘A Story of Friendship’
Trump/Destiny Pictures presents “A Story of Friendship.” The story of a great friendship between like-minded men, presented with a unique possibility of cementing a bond of brotherhood.
Featuring President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, coming together to forge a unique relationship and remake history in their own image.
While 7 billion people inhabit the earth, only a small, chosen few have risen to the ranks of oligarch, the true rulers of mighty Russia, with the opportunity to leave their mark on their nation as did the nomenklatura before them and the court of the Czars before them. Now, together, we have the unique ability to help restore the vast reach of this empire that once stretched from the center of Europe across the mountains and plains of the “Stans” to the Pacific, from the shores of the Baltic on the north to the Black Sea on the south.
But only one among this ruling class of oligarchs has the vision, the power, the unalloyed chutzpah, to carry off such a renewal and return history to its natural course – so deeply disturbed in the past by weak and irresolute leaders of both our countries.
History may repeat itself; indeed, in this case must repeat itself, to restore the natural order of things – moving forward inexorably, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, slashing through the impediments strewn in our path by foolish nations, blinded by ancient alliances, shackled by outdated concepts of right and wrong. Will the world and its people embrace this change? Perhaps they are not sufficiently visionary. Together, we can make the blind see the light and forge a new era where once again the mighty have the opportunity to rule for the greater good.
Iran: ‘A Story of Vision and Faith’
Trump/Destiny Pictures presents “A Story of Vision and Faith” … a new story from an old beginning. A story about a special moment in time – when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated. What will he choose? To show vision and faith … or not.
Featuring President Donald J. Trump and Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, coming together to remake history, to shine in the sun – one moment, one choice. The past remains to be recalled.
While 7 billion people inhabit planet earth, only a small, chosen few profess the true faith, with the ability to leave a lasting impact on their nation and the region where you play such a central role. And only one, the Grand Ayatollah, has been divinely called on to take actions that will renew their homeland and change the course of history.
(You will pardon me if you see some word echoes from the brilliant script of your “Story of Opportunity” trailer, but they do resonate so deeply around the world.)
There can only be two results – moving forward, alone and unloved, isolated, surrounded by enemies. Or moving backward toward an old world that preserves the traditions of the faith in a time before nukes sullied the landscape. Be part of that world – as the doors of belief open.
Can history be changed? Will the world embrace this change? This moment in history can provide a new beginning. Will the Grand Ayatollah choose to be part of it? Which path will be chosen?
Canada: ‘A Special Circle of Hell’
Trump/Destiny Pictures presents “Justin Trudeau, Avoiding That Trip to a Special Circle of Hell.” A story of recognition of unbridled folly and the realization that Dante created any number of circles to be avoided at any cost.
Featuring President Donald J. Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, neighbors and friends, under the proper circumstances, presiding over the longest, largely unguarded, frontier in the world.
While 7 billion people inhabit the earth, no people resemble each other more than Americans and Canadians – mainly white, many Christian, mostly Anglophile. Now, together, we can restore our relationship, while enriching each other. Only you have the power, however, to take the actions necessary to produce this end so deeply desired by both our peoples.
Ridding the world of your pernicious tariffs on the produce of our so terribly hard-working farmers, recognizing the danger of dumping cheap, tariff-free automobiles and auto parts across our frontier. All this will restore our ability to exist as we both want – friends as well as neighbors.
Justice: ‘The Start of a Beautiful Friendship’
Trump/Destiny Pictures presents “Robert Mueller and the Start of a Beautiful Friendship.” A story of recognition of the folly of misplaced prosecution and the quality of mercy, unrestrained, falling as it does from the heavens above.
Featuring President Donald J. Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller, a story of a special moment that has brought these two giants together and the challenge and opportunity to chart a new course for the future of the American body politic.
While 7 billion people inhabit the earth, only a chosen 326 million have been carefully selected and are privileged to live in the United States. Of these only one has been chosen to lead them – or at least chosen by the wise elders of the Electoral College. Already he has made an enormous mark on the fate of America and placed his stamp on much of the world, bringing peace, prosperity and a recognition of the unchallenged fact that America is first among the many.
Now it is incumbent upon us to act in their best and greatest interest. It is essential that we move toward a new era when together we can help realize this vision, where our friendship becomes a model for all those in America’s justice system and far beyond to understand the enormous benefits that can flow from this friendship. And chart a course to a brighter, stronger, certainly wealthier future.
(By the way, there is a real Destiny Pictures, which says it had nothing to do with the video shown to Kim, which was actually produced by the National Security Council staff.)