Mike smirked as he responded, “So their Juche, or self-reliance policy, is teeing them up for another horrific famine, probably bigger than the one they had in the mid 1990’s. You’re saying all they want to discuss is their next nuclear material purchases? Gee, Marge, do you think we can get them to just buy what’s on the truck? We broker and sell oil, not enriched uranium ore so that the Korean fat boy can send launch vehicles into low earth orbit over every one's heads! The biological weapons they are building are bad enough, but asking us to include enriched uranium so he can take some nuclear weapons into space to then drop them anywhere? Count me out!”
Now contemptuous as well as irked, Marge declared, “Sober up, bright boy! Use your head! He wants the threat of nuclear weapons so he can trade them to the west as a show of good faith to gain the needed food aid! They have mismanaged so much of their economy that their people are starving. The only way to accept food for a starving public, and save face in the transaction, is to offer to disarm their nuclear weapons stock.”
Mike fixed a pathetic look at Marge and mocked, “How humanitarian of him! See how this sounds. I won’t nuke your country, and to show you how magnanimous I can be, I will let you feed my starving population. Aren’t I sweet?”
Marge clucked her tongue and visibly strained to keep her temper in check. When she felt in control she bluntly stated, “They will still buy our oil stocks, but we still need to figure out how to convert their lousy Won currency into something that will spend. Where are you on that?”
Mike modestly reined in his sarcasm and replied, “Not very far without a convincing scenario. However, you are going off the deep end on this one.
“Let me try and wrap my head around your current scenario. The North Koreans managed to thoroughly piss off the Russians by defaulting on 90% of their loans, so now they will only deal in rubles for oil purchases. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russians have stopped handing out subsidies just for towing the communist line.
“Then you have the Chinese trying to distance themselves from your partners. That is in part because the Chinese recognize they kind of like the high lifestyle that free market economies can deliver, so they don’t want to subsidize their neighbors anymore when their eyes are on the profits. The only thing that your partners can produce in quantity is a bloated communist bureaucratic workforce and low grade high sulfur content coal. Oh, and neither of these are marketable by today’s standards.
“On the other side, we’ve got some fresh lunatic clients in the form of Muslim terrorists, who need someone to sell their stolen oil for them so they can continue to run amok. There is something about stealing someone else’s work and selling it to underwrite their psychotic terrorist activities that gets a person all goose-bumpily. However, if we can blend the low-cost oil from the Muslims with the over-priced oil we got stuck with when the oil market took a dump on our business, we might be able to sell it to the Koreans and actually dig ourselves out of our financial hole.
“Of course, we have to get it into their dark country without anyone noticing the source of said crude. Oh, by the way, we need a way to help them figure out how to upgrade their crumbling infrastructure so that they can burn the damn stuff to make electricity! And you’re telling me, the only thing that the fat boy regime wants to know is how he can get more uranium or plutonium so he can barter for food? I’m probably going to have to work through lunch and maybe happy hour to get all of this under control!”
Now it was Marge’s turn to be sarcastic. “Oh, my goodness! We ARE the overworked, melodramatic, and under-appreciated snookum, aren’t we?
“This is how we will divide and conquer, whiney boy. I’ll work on the enriched uranium sourcing. You will find a way to convert the Korean won to something more useful than toilet paper so we can continue to buy. Do you understand your role?”
Mike studied her a moment and then asked, “Who said we have to convert it? Why can’t we just use it to pay the Muslims? Money is only useful in making purchases anyway, so what if we use it to pay Kashan?”
Marge thought about the possibility for a moment and questioned, “What good would that do? Kashan would have the same problem that we have with their bird-cage bottom liner paper.”
Mike smirked and offered, “Yes, of course. But it would be his problem, not ours.”
Marge then wondered, “You think you can get him to go for it? I mean, without any more discounting, because of the nearly non-negotiable status of the won?”
Mike retorted, “The Koreans have a sizeable manufacturing industry, and their currency would easily be accepted for purchase of weapons that would not show up on the world stage. We would solve four problems at once leveraging the won as the currency of choice.”
Marge puzzled a moment and then asked, “Uh, four problems? I only count three; being paid in won; using the won to pay for the unsanctioned oil; and then Kashan using the won to buy arms made in Korea.”
Mike ignored her commentary as he grinned and declared, “I won’t have to work through happy hour to make all this work.” Marge sported a rather sour face as she replied, “How economical of you. Make your call to Kashan and let me know if he’ll go for it.”
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