Wednesday, April 8, 2009

President Claims Success Following First European Negotiations; Says While All He Got Was a T-Shirt, It Was “Pretty Sweet” as T-Shirts Go

President Barack Obama returned to the U.S. yesterday following his first multilateral meetings in London, Strasbourg, and Prague. Proclaiming success at the end of negotiations, Obama pointed to what he described as a “pretty sweet t-shirt, made of a linen and cotton blend, not the cheap kind you find at retail chains that fade after a couple washes.” The t-shirt appeared to have a piece of paper taped on the back, which Administration officials promptly removed.

Obama led the international negotiations by apologizing profusely for past American behavior dating back to its use of the atomic bomb, which ended World War II. In return, Western European countries agreed not to complicate Obama’s military buildup in Afghanistan by contributing their own troops to the effort, which, they said, “would only make the logistics of retreat more cumbersome.”

While French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel achieved concessions by declaring their respective positions “nonnegotiable” and “not a bargaining chip,” an adoring Europe appreciated what they described as Obama’s unique and refreshing approach to the the talks. As one foreign official said, “He would often stand silently, but confidently, with a book tucked under one arm.” The book, according to Administration sources, was titled “Getting to Maybe.”

When Obama was asked his reaction to North Korea’s launch of a missile-ready rocket at about the same time he delivered his speech urging “a strong international response” to that country’s quest for nuclear weapons, the President indicated the launch was a positive result of his remarks. “I want North Korea to be able to dispose of any such arsenal as quickly as possible,” he said, “and what quicker means of disposal than long-range propulsion technology?” The next day, the Administration announced large reductions in U.S. missile defense.

Obama also agreed to start negotiations with Russia to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the two countries. Obama was asked why the U.S. made such an agreement when Russian nuclear stockpiles are deteriorating rapidly anway, and why Iran -- whose nuclear program poses a much greater threat to world security -- was not linked to the negotiations. The President explained that while Iran was coming dangerously close to a nuclear capability, it “didn’t yet have the technology to produce a decent t-shirt for bargaining purposes.”

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