The Advisor had no trouble putting together the realities of the Middle East, but he spent extra time deciding how to present a picture that would not cause the president to walk out on him during his presentation. The president was intelligent but had a very thin skin for such an accomplished political campaigner. Perhaps, he thought, it is because the truth had no place on his campaign trails. On the campaign, the ends for him clearly justified whatever needed to be done or said to weaken the opposition. The president had taken on board the Saul Alinsky rules totally. The issue is never the issue is his guidance for all his policies and speeches. The man is remarkably consistent and, for his followers, he is brilliant. He can avoid and ignore issues that any previous president would have believed he had to take on.
As he mused over his dilemma, the Advisor worked to stay within his historic guidelines. He had to advise his president to the best of his ability. The fact that he thought this president was clearly focused on destroying the political and economic structure he inherited was a problem, for his responsibility was to advise the president in his role to protect and improve the life of its citizens. If he could be just a little dishonest, he could rationalize that the president wanted to improve America. But in the process of socialization, great harm would be done. Freedom and the ability to rise above the norm would be lost as long as socialism, communism, or progressivism prevailed. He just couldn’t, or more honestly, wouldn’t follow that path.
At that moment, the Advisor’s only phone rang, with the only person he ever spoke to, outside the president, on the other line. Chris Hammond, the chief of the President’s Secret Service detail, said the president would late, somewhere near midnight. Good, he thought, that will give me time for a nap, a shower, and a frozen Indian curry dinner.
It was almost midnight when the Advisor put on a fresh pot of Sumatra dark roast. He was just getting ready to pour himself a cup when the faint alarm sounded and the president entered.
“Welcome, Mr. President. You must be able to smell fresh coffee brewing.”
The president chuckled. “When the coffee is as good as yours, I could smell it for miles, even when it is coming from an underground cave. Your existence is even more constrained than mine. I suspect you have learned to take pleasure in small things.”
“Yes, I have. That is very perceptive of you. There doesn’t seem to be much instant gratification in your life.”
“No, there isn’t. And I think I won’t get much in the next hour or so. Shall we begin? Surprise me.” The president sat back in his seat at the conference table, a cigarette already between his fingers.
“First, some basics. You know most of these but they are important in any discussion of the Middle East, no matter the subject. The people of the Middle East have a past they are proud of and a present they are not. Tribal allegiance is still a very important factor. Mobility up the social chain is much harder than it is in America where education is the key to improved status. In the Middle East it is religion and revolution. For reasons beyond my understanding Asian and Middle Eastern people have a very long and usually patient view of the time/progress ratio. Americans are only comfortable with instant gratification plus a decade.
“Then, there is the history of religious wars and colonialism when troops from the West with superior weapons and technology subjugated people of the Middle East and attempted to impose Western culture and even religion in the conquered areas. As a result the people of this historic crossroad both admire and hate the West with its superior technology.
“After World War I, diplomats from the West drew national boundaries that failed to consider tribal loyalties, religious affiliations, and the hunger of people for their own homeland. The situation of present-day Kurds is an example. The destruction of Saddam Hussain’s Iraqi ’empire’ created a vacuum that the Iranians are filling after noting the West had abandoned the region.
“Iran is the dominant single nation in the Middle East today. For decades, they have been working to take control of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen by creating and funding Shiite terrorists groups in all these nations. The West has been ineffective in thwarting the Iranian drive to hegemony in the Middle East. Now the Iranians want to solidify their gains and they need to be a nuclear power to do so. Unless they are presented with strong military and economic resistance, they will not be deterred in achieving nuclear status with an ICBM capability. They cannot be trusted to honor any agreement or treaty that stands in the way. Nor will they stop the funding and equipping of proxy terrorist organization to further their dominance of the Middle East. Nothing in Iran will change for the better in Western terms without a regime change. I know you have other reasons for negotiating with the Ayatollahs but there will be a terrible price to pay in human terms.”
The president sat still for a moment, then took a final drag on his cigarette before grinding it down on the table. “There were some surprises but you gave the speech I expected. I have to go, but this is interesting. I’ll give my response at one of our next meetings.” He left without another word or without a look back, per usual.
The Advisor found himself already impatient to hear the president’s response.
The above is a fictional account of a president meeting with a legendary but fictional advisor.
“ISIS: Quiet Justice,” a new Jack Brandon novel dealing with ISIS in America, is now available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in print form and nook and kindle formats. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80.