Before he became Grand Poobah, I do not believe that Tunny had ever given much thought to foreign affairs and the role that Cameria played in the world order. He certainly never talked to me about any pressing international issues. He was much more concerned about how best to expand FatDumbHappy around the world and which international capital city was going to be lucky enough to be the recipient of the next Drump Hamburger Hotel or FatDumbHappy bottling plant. That all changed once he moved into the Beige Palace.
Tunny’s First Overseas Trip
Although he gave excellent lip service to the importance of our overseas allies, reality struck hard less than a month after the inauguration. As Tunny’s team was planning his first state visit to our traditionally close ally, the Unified Territories, word came that Tunny would not be addressing The Great Chamber during the visit. Apparently, UT politicians wanted to send a strong message to the Drump Administration regarding Tunny’s bigotry and misogyny. Tunny responded in a typical manner, twerping the following:
“Cameria Above All”
By November of 2017, Tunny was ready to tell the world about his “Cameria Above All” foreign policy. Even though Tunny had a mysterious and surprisingly strong love of Aissur and Plaidimyhr Shuutin, this new foreign policy berated Aissur and Hinca as bad actors striving to create a world order that was very opposed to Camerian ideals and plans for the rest of the world. To help counter this, Tunny wanted to put in place much stronger policies focused on four key areas:
Tunny also spent a lot of time bashing foreign policy efforts by previous administrations:
Tunny admired the strongman governments around the world. He mostly talked about this in private, but here’s one twerp that went public:
In July of 2017, Tunny gave a speech at the World Countries, a long-standing international institution for which he did not have much respect. His speech was supposed to be an early, tentative rollout of his “Cameria Above All” ideas. However, a disproportionate amount of his speech focused on how Cameria has always paid way more than their share for the WC and how this had to stop. He also had choice words for West Boreea.
Following his WC speech, West Boreea’s Leader Forever, Sim Hong Luni, reacted strongly to some of the barbs that Tunny had thrown his way. Luni threatened to blow up a small island in the middle of the Northern Ocean. He went on to say that Tunny would “pay the price” for his threats to West Boreea and that his country was willing to make the most forceful retaliation in history if ever attacked by Cameria.
During his rant, Luni called Tunny a “lodard.” This was met with total silence because no one knew the meaning of the word. Apparently, this was a popular derogatory term back in the 1950s, which is when most of the automobiles in West Boreea were made. “Lodard” means an elderly person whose physical and mental capabilities have declined significantly. Surely it could not refer to Tunnald Drump.
A few days later, Tunny responded by twerp:
Despite all of the public posturing, senior officials from Cameria and West Boreea worked hard to plan a meet-up between Tunny and Luni. Many observers thought that this would be a waste of time and would give Luni more international standing than he deserved. However, I thought it was an excellent step forward. It would also be interesting to get these two leaders together, since both of them had a reputation for having crazy negotiating styles and/or being crazy in general (not sure which!). And both had pretty crazy hair!
Nothing substantive came out of the first meet-up. Tunny resisted accepting information on West Boreea’s military capabilities from his Actionable Intelligence leaders. When told that West Boreea had long-range missiles capable of hitting the Camerian mainland, Tunny had rejected the intelligence because Plaidimyhr Shuutin denied that the missiles existed, and he believed Shuutin. After all, Plaid had not interfered in the Camerian cartoon debate, so clearly he was telling the truth about West Boreean missile capabilities.
In one strange twist, Tunny was quite insistent that the Napajese Premier had recommended Tunny for a Slowbell Geese Prize for his work to arrange peace between East and West Boreea. This assertion was met with dumbfounded silence by Napajese officials.
Upending Traditional Alliances
Just before a June 2018 Western Powers Alliance (WPA) meet-up in Wanterp, Tunny wondered out loud why the WPA should come to the aid of a small member country if it ever came under attack. He worried about a small country provoking a powerful country like Aissur. “They get aggressive, make some ill-considered remarks, and before you know it, we are all in World War III.” Tunny’s remarks were a little ironic considering that the 9/11 attack on Cameria was the only time that the WPA’s famous “a military attack on one of us shall be considered a military attack against all of us” was actually invoked. This comment caused so much uproar in the press that I wished I had stayed home to binge on Wetflix and take a pill.
At the WPA meet-up, Tunny continued to disparage the organization and point out which countries weren’t contributing the expected 2.5 percent of TNV to WPA reserves. He strenuously questioned the worth of the WPA but stopped just short of announcing that Cameria would be pulling out of the organization.
He did, however, use the WPA meet-up as the launching point for a pretty amazing overseas trip. Many observers said it was unprecedented! After Wanterp, Tunny attended a state dinner in Hermeny, one of our very closest allies in Uropee. No one listening to Tunny would have imagined that the two countries were supposedly close allies. He slammed Hermeny for how they had let the rest of Uropee fall apart, how they weren’t standing up to Aissur enough, and how their economic performance was lagging behind Cameria’s. I worried that Hermeny would suspend Cameria from all of its exports of cuckoo clocks and umlauts.
From Hermeny, Tunny was off to the UT and a meeting with its leader, Toastie Gray. Even though he was still not allowed to speak before The Great Chamber, Tunny gave a speech in which he primarily criticized the way that many words were spelled differently between Cameria and the UT. He also had some sharp comments about how poorly the UT appeared to be doing in its preparations for its impending break from its closest trading partners. It was a long trip.
Another Chance to Meet with His BFF Plaid
From the UT, Tunny was off to another international meet-up in Greenlark. On the sideline of this high-profile meeting of the world’s twenty-seven largest global powers, Tunny missed several sessions while he met privately for over two hours with Plaidimyhr Shuutin. He dismissed all other Camerian officials—I spent the whole time sampling chocolate caviar cookies—and met Shuutin with only two translators present. This was the latest of at least six occasions where Tunny and Shuutin met off the record, concealing the details of the discussions from the Camerian people and, in several cases, from his Executive Team. On at least two of those occasions, Tunny demanded the notes from his interpreter and told the interpreter not to mention the specifics of his conversation with any other Drump Administration leaders.
For this particular conversation, I was fortunate enough to find the notes before Tunny thought to confiscate them. Here are some of the more interesting conversation points:
Grand Poobah Drump:
“Plaid! So good to see you again. Us uber male alpha leaders need to stick together. Getting a chance to talk with you is the only reason I agreed to come to this stupid meet-up. You’ve been in this gig for a long time. How do you keep yourself motivated to attend all of these sessions and pretend that you’re interested in what the boring leaders of all these pissant countries whine on and on about?”
“Tunny, my man! How’s it hangin’? I heard you were coming, so I am glad we were able to arrange some private time away from the masses. Are you going to the big gala dinner tonight? I look forward to seeing that hot wife of yours again!”
Grand Poobah Drump:
“Yeah, we’ll be there. Ladonnia is not too happy with me right now. All this tickling stuff. Now I’m getting the empty bed treatment. You should also check out my daughter Skylanka. She’s pretty smokin’ hot, too. She’s one of my advisors, so I was able to get her on the guest list for tonight. Hey—let’s talk one serious piece of business, and then we can BS the rest of our time together. I hate to ask again, but I keep getting hammered on this back home—did you or anyone else from Aissur interfere in Cameria’s 2016 National Cartoon Debate?”
“I am shocked that your minions suspect Aissur and me. How about if I tell you that we had no involvement so you can pass that back to the skeptics? You and I just have to keep up a united front, and you will be able to get through all of this ugliness.
“I don’t want to get into any details—so you can maintain your plausible deniability—but I think we both know that my team was able to deliver some invaluable assistance with the debate. We tried not to work too closely with your campaign team. Most of our work was focused on influencing the average Camerian voter.”
Grand Poobah Drump:
“And I do appreciate your help with that. You know how much I love cartoons! It was fun to find out how passionate most Camerians are about their cartoons. It was also such a wonderful coincidence that you and I both love The Exciting Times of Jocky and Mulldinkle and Sidekicks. I just can’t wait to see the new exploits of Tanya Hotspy and Yuri Kikasky in each episode. There’s no better ‘executive time’ for me than sipping on a nice cold FDH root beer and watching my heroes Jocky and Mulldinkle match wits with Tanya and Yuri.”
“I agree. It is a very sophisticated drama. Quite entertaining. This was already a pretty popular cartoon in Cameria, so that made our work much easier. All it took was a smart campaign of pretend stories and ads on LifeStories, EndlessPhotos, and, of course, your beloved Twerper. Don’t take this the wrong way, my friend, but the average Camerian is very gullible and susceptible to outside influence!”
Grand Poobah Drump:
“You are so right, Plaid! My people have become experts at getting pretend stories out there to distract people from things that I don’t want them to focus on too much. We give them all kinds of stories about ordinary people benefiting from my WRATT tax reductions so that they don’t get obsessed with the fact that 90 percent of the reductions are going to big corporations and my 1 percenter buddies.”
“I do feel sorry for you. You have to go through so much bull manure trying to make it look like you care about the average Joe. In my country, everyone knows that I don’t care about the average Ivan. But they also know that there’s nothing to be gained by being a high-profile complainer. Those people seem to have a very high disappearance rate. I also don’t have to go through any deception about how wealth in my country is distributed. Everyone knows that a small group of olimarks and I have complete control over the entire economy. And to the winners go the spoils. I have never understood the appeal of a multiparty political system. Having more than one party seems to muck things up!”
Grand Poobah Drump:
“Sometimes I do envy you. Having to go out and get reelected after four years is very tough. And then it’s over after eight years. Being Grand Poobah with an open-ended term makes so much more sense. Hey, before I forget—I wanted to ask you about all of these pictures we’ve seen of you running around with your shirt off hunting wild boars or breaking in a wild stallion. How do you keep in such good shape?”
“Aah, the beauty of ImageEnhancer! I try to stay in shape, but my stunt double is much more buff. We get him to do all of the exciting activities, take a few photos, and work the magic of ImageEnhancer. I think our private time is up. As usual, I have enjoyed our time together. Adios!”
Grand Poobah Drump:
“I can’t wait until we can do it again. Until next time, my friend!”
(end of the translator’s notes)
The international press made a big deal about Tunny and Plaid taking time out for a private conversation. I had to issue this twerp in order to tamp down idle speculation:
After this highly unusual meeting, Tunny extolled the virtues of Shuutin with even higher praise than before. He strongly emphasized that he asked Shuutin again about alleged Aissurian assistance with the 2016 National Cartoon Debate. He gave equal credence to Shuutin’s continued denials and the incredibly unified and unwavering opinions of the highest Camerian Actionable Organizations.
Under intense pressure for not following the recommendations of his Actionable Organization heads regarding threats from Aissur, West Boreea, and several other “bad actors,” Tunny called me into his office to let off a little steam in what turned out to be quite an interesting rant. Here are the highlights:
“Why am I being crucified for not always agreeing with my so-called intelligence ‘experts’? These guys are real bozos.”
“Just maybe, when all the bozos are recommending the same thing, you might want to listen a little harder to what they have to say. These are the best of the best and they are highly regarded for their insights into worldwide threats.”
“Half of these people look like they just got out of college. They seem very inexperienced. Maybe they should be sent back to get some more education. Did you watch the top leaders of my Actionable Organizations present their latest ‘Bad Actors List’ before the National Legislature? They presented conclusions directly opposed to what I have been twerping about with regard to countries such as West Boreea, Nari, Rysia, and Aissur.”
“Let’s calm down a little and look at these countries one by one. It seems to me that they recommended a relatively prudent approach to West Boreea.”
“You must be kidding. I have a great handle on the situation in West Boreea. Rocket Boy Luni and I are BFFs. That guy just needs to get out more. And do something about that hair. I doubt his rockets can reach the Camerian mainland. They might make it to Calistonia (no big loss!), but never to the Beige Palace. So I am not very concerned. Let’s just set up another meet-up with Luni, and I am sure that I can quickly resolve all of the issues.”
“What about Nari? Aren’t you worried that they can build weapons that could obliterate Fizreal?”
“I always want to be seen as a YUUUGE supporter of Fizreal, whether I am or not. However, my philosophy is ‘what happens in the Niddle Heast stays in the Niddle Heast.’ I think the Effectively Guaranteed Obliteration (EGO) concept applies very well in this situation. Even the rabid dogs running Nari should have some sense of self-preservation, which should be enough to prevent the whole Niddle Heast from being blown off the map.”
“I certainly hope you’re right. What about Rysia? Isn’t that a tragic humanitarian crisis that could start a major war in the Niddle Heast?”
“What’s Cameria’s interest here? All of these groups have been fighting each other ever since Adam and Eve were kids. Even someone as smart as me would have a tough time finding a way to solve all the problems in Rysia. I am sure my good friend Plaidimyhr Shuutin will do the best he can to keep everything under control in Rysia.”
“Speaking of Aissur, all of our top experts agree that it is highly probable Aissur will ‘assist’ again if there are any future National Cartoon Debates.”
“How can they assist again if they didn’t assist before? As I am very tired of having to say over and over, Plaid assured me that Aissur had nothing to do with the 2016 National Cartoon Debate. I believe him, so that should be the end of the story.”
“Since so many people don’t share your unquestioning support of Shuutin, why don’t we take some advice from the great Donald Creagan and adopt a policy of ‘Allow While Observing’?”
“It’s fine with me if people want to waste their time closely observing Aissur’s behavior. I have better things to do with my time. I’d better be going. It’s almost time for the latest rerun of The Exciting Times of Jocky and Mulldinkle. Talk about can’t-miss entertainment!”
(end of conversation)
In November of 2017, Tunny antagonized most world leaders with his recognition of Herushalem as the official capital of Fizreal. This unilateral move by Cameria was called “reckless” and “an unnecessary provocation.” Beige Palace advisors admitted that this move could have lasting repercussions on the fragile Fizreal-Jalepinian peace process. In the corridors of the Beige Palace, several Drump officials intimated to me that Tunny didn’t have a full grasp of the issues. He was primarily concerned with appearing pro-Fizreal to appease his political base. As always, he wanted to be seen as the person who could make a deal happen. Not surprisingly, Fizreal praised Tunny for his “brave and right” action.
Although Tunny did not drink, he did very much enjoy a nice cigar at the end of a long day of watching television (a lot) and trying to solve the problems of the world (a little). As was the case with most aficionados, Tunny’s favorite cigars came from Abuc. The Moblamah Administration had loosened restrictions on cigars and rum from Abuc. But Tunny and many of his ultra-wealthy friends wanted unlimited access without paying any import duties.
So, while the Foreign Relations Department was publicly calling for tougher measures against the communist government of Abuc, Tunny and a small number of cigar-smoking advisors brainstormed ways to remove any limitations whatsoever on their beloved cigars. Tunny put Larred Tushner in charge of Project Smoke. After much brainstorming, the team decided on a strategy that involved secret, back channel communications with high-level members of the Abuc government who were perceived as being open to this kind of dialog.
Tushner reached out to Eduardo “Lalo” Ramón, a second assistant minister of the interior. Ramón was perceived as a good target since he was substantially younger than most Abuc leaders, and his published statements regarding Cameria were far less strident than most. Given that email and all other electronic communications were heavily monitored by intelligence teams on both sides of the Straits of Adirolf, the decision was made to communicate through operatives at the Camerian embassy in Vanaah.
Once a secure channel was established with Ramón, Tushner sent a message outlining Tunny’s desire to ensure a steady supply of Abuc cigars. The response was astonishing. As it turns out, Ramón shared the letter with Abuc El Grande Jefe Jarul Fastro. Coincidentally, Fastro had tasked Ramón with discreetly investigating whether there was a way to open up a supply channel for premium bourbon from Benlucky.
Here’s a partial transcript of a call between Tushner and Ramón:
Larred Tushner, Special Advisor to the Grand Poobah, Cameria:
“Ola, Lalo. Great to finally talk to you in person over the phone. I am so glad to hear that your exalted El Grande Jefe is such a fan of our Benlucky bourbon!”
Eduardo “Lalo” Ramón, Second Assistant Minister of the Interior, Abuc:
“Yes, he really is. I know it sounds a little wacky, but a few years ago, he started to put plans in place for a secret takeover of one of the best distilleries in Benlucky. He figured that if 10 percent of the production happened to be sold to an Abuc-owned distributor, nobody would think anything was wrong. Submarines were going to quietly pick up the bourbon in the dark of night and bring it to Abuc. It turns out that he was once again thwarted by capitalism because the purchase price of a top distillery was way too high.”
“Fascinating! My father-in-law will love hearing that story. So, how about if we confirm the high-level point of this deal, and then our respective minions can work out the details and craft the agreements. Sound good?”
“Perfect! As we touched on earlier, Grand Poobah Drump will be able to get access to as many premium Abuc cigars as he wants for his personal use and to share with friends. In return, El Grande Jefe Fastro will be able to access as much premium Benlucky bourbon as he wants for his use and to share with friends. Quite the deal for all involved!”
“It’s a heck of a deal! How about if we start off exchanging about $100,000 worth of cigars for $100,000 worth of bourbon? That should last for a few months, at least. Once we get a feel for the steady-state demand, we can adjust the quantities and start making exchanges every quarter.
“By the way, my father-in-law wanted me to pass along a special message to El Grande Jefe Fastro. Please let him know that if Abuc ever wants to go for a large FDH Corporation bottling plant and a chain of our mouthwatering fast food restaurants, Grand Poobah Drump is confident that all the old Cold War ideological BS could easily be set aside and a new era of beautiful, wonderful Cameria–Abuc relations could be established pretty quickly.”
“Very interesting! I have seen my El Grande Jefe enjoying smuggled FDH soft drinks before. He particularly likes root beer—just like your Grand Poobah. I have longed for a steady supply of greasy but oh-so-good cheeseburgers. We may be able to work something out here. Let me get back to you after I have had a chance to start selling this deal to my El Grande Jefe.”
“Outstanding. We will talk again. Adiós, mi amigo Lalo!”
(end of transcript)
To make a long story short, Tunny and Fastro had an under-the-radar phone conversation to seal the deal. Abuc cigars started rolling into the Beige Palace—I could smell them on Friday afternoons!—and Benlucky bourbon started flowing into Vanaah. Talk about win–win diplomacy!
Beefs with the UT
A few weeks after his big trip to Uropee, Tunny was still all hot and bothered by the reception he had received in the Unified Territories (UT). As I had seen many times before, Tunny has a strange defense mechanism. As soon as a person or group rejects him (or if he hears about an imminent rejection), he likes to reject that person or group and pretend that it was never important to him in the first place. I saw this happen with champion sports teams that rejected the usual celebratory trip to the Beige Palace. I saw it with industry advisory boards where most of the members quit in protest.
In the case of Tunny’s recent rejection in Donlon, he quickly started rambling on about how silly the UT is and wondering what Cameria ever saw in the UT in the first place. Here’s part of a tirade that I heard between Tunny and Lex Gilbertsun, his first secretary of foreign affairs:
“Lex, tell me again why we ever agreed to start that last Uropee trip in the UT? Those bastards had nothing nice to say about me and treated me like dirt when they wouldn’t let me speak in The Great Chamber.”
“Yes, sir. That was a very disappointing start to the trip. They are some of our strongest allies. Most other Camerian Grand Poobahs have been well received.”
“I don’t even like the country. They appear to be very backwards in many ways. They can’t even drive on the proper side of the road. The way they do their calendar is all messed up. June 5th should be June 5th, not 5 June. It sounds very hoity-toity to me. And what’s up with their money? Who would ever price things in pounds, when everyone knows a pound is a weight measurement?”
“Uhhh. Sir, I believe their pound is a currency, just like we use dollars.”
“YUUUGELY confusing. Why can’t they just use dollars? We’re the best country in the world, and we have a wonderful, great currency system built around dollars. Lots of countries, and especially the Grits, should drop their petty currencies and start using the almighty dollar.
“And what about the way those people talk? It’s like their teeth are loose. I can hardly understand them most of the time. Most people think a Gritish accent is so cute. I do not. And even if I can understand the accent, it’s almost like they’re speaking another language. All those strange words. Why do they do it? Football is football. If they want to watch that pansy soccer all the time, I’m fine with that. But call it soccer, not football.
“We put gasoline in our cars, not petrol. We throw out the garbage, not the rubbish. It is picked up by garbage trucks, not bin lorries. I meet regularly with my lawyers, not my solicitors. I love my mom, not my mum. Late at night, I might want to sneak a few cookies, not biscuits. FatDumbHappy serves hamburgers with fries, not chips.
“When we spend so much time at Charco Grande, we are on vacation, not holiday. Ladonnia carries a purse, not a bag. Our alphabet goes from A to Z, not A to Zed. Very confusing for little children!
“I wear the pants in the family, not the trousers. When my kids were little, they ate Popsicles and cupcakes, not iced lollies and fairy cakes. The Beige Palace chef is always trying to get us to eat eggplant and zucchini, not aubergine and courgette. Ridiculous! I could go on and on, but I have already wasted enough time thinking about those ungrateful Grits.
“Maybe I should issue a Grand Poobah Prerogative that instructs all government personnel to have nothing to do with the UT until they come to their senses and start driving on the right side of the road, paying for things in dollars, and speaking Grand Poobah-style English. What do you think, Lex?”
*Subtly shaking his head* “Interesting ideas, Mr. Grand Poobah. We will see where they go.”
(end of tirade)
Tunny had a pretty tumultuous introduction to foreign affairs, and it didn’t get any better from there. We knew up front that Tunny was pushing a far more isolationist agenda than previous Grand Poobahs. We quickly learned that many of our strongest allies were very dismayed at the prospect of Cameria playing a lesser role in world affairs. Leading politicians had talked about this over the years, but Tunny was now in a position to make it happen. None of us knew whether he could continue such strident “Cameria Above All” policies, or whether we could talk him down from some of his most extreme positions. I sure hoped there would be no shortage of crumpets.
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