Written by Frank Li
Editor's note: In this special column, Frank Li imagines what a conversation between U.S. President Obama and Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk might have been like. Enjoy.
On March 12, President Obama welcomed Ukraine's interim PM (Prime Minister), Arseniy Yatsenyuk, to the White House (Obama's backing for Ukraine's new leaders hardens East-West split). I have obtained a copy of the taped conversation between them via a friend working at NSA, and hereby release it for your perusal.
Barack Obama (BO): Welcome to the White House!
Arseniy Yatsenyuk (AY): Thank you very much for hosting me! It means a lot to us, as we seek international recognition that we are the legitimate government in Ukraine. Unfortunately, Russia has yet to recognize us.
BO: Why is that?
AY: The Russians are saying that Viktor Yanukovych is still the legitimate President of Ukraine, because he was democratically elected, but we are not.
BO: Is that true?
AY: Yes, we overthrew him via a revolution and then seized power, just like we did decades ago with the communist revolution!
BO: Why did you do that?
AY: He was unpopular, especially with his decision to ally with Russia, instead of the EU. Besides, we wanted power.
BO: Wait a minute - Did you just say that you overthrew a democratically elected, but unpopular, president via a revolution?
BO: Wow - I just realized how lucky I have been! My approval rating has been below 50% for a long time (WSJ/NBC News Poll: Obama's Approval Rating Hits New Low), but I have yet to be overthrown by the American people.
AY: Maybe they should. Just kidding ...
BO: I appreciate your sense of humor.
AY: Hopefully I did not offend you.
BO: No, you did not. In all honesty, they can't! See, we are a country of law. Before there is any threat to me like that, the crowd will be quickly dispersed, by deadly force if necessary. If they resist, we will arrest them, putting them on trial as terrorists and then in jail.
AY: Democracy is new to us, and we are far from being a country of law.
BO: Man, no wonder John McCain has been appearing in every uprising around the world, from Cairo to Kiev. I now know why: McCain wants an uprising in the U.S., so that he can be the President! What a jerk!
AY: Sorry, what did you just say?
BO: Sorry, my mind just went astray ... Okay, tell me what more can I do to help you out?
AY: How about more sanctions against Russia?
BO: Well, as Mr. Kerry explained to you last week (A Pseudo Conversation between John Kerry and Ukraine Leaders), we have done our best on sanctions (President Obama delivers statement on Ukraine situation). Apparently, our European allies are following through too (EU moves toward sanctions on Russians).
AY: These sanctions are token only, aren't they?
BO: Yes, they are indeed token! To be honest with you, I made a mistake by publicly warning Russia that "there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine" (Obama: There will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine). But apparently, Putin thought it was a bluff and did it anyway. So my government must do something to save my face. Additionally, I blackmailed our friends in Europe to show their solidarity with us, again!
AY: I see!
BO: What about the referendum in Crimea this coming Sunday?
AY: It will happen.
BO: Aren't you worried about the outcome?
AY: Yes and no
BO: Why 'yes'?
AY: It's democracy at work, more legitimate than anything my government does. I am worried that you will truly honor the will of the people this time. We would appreciate it very much if you could exercise your double standards once more ...
BO: Why 'no'?
AY: It may not be a bad thing for Crimea to leave Ukraine. You see, Mr. Yanukovych won by only half a million votes in our last election, but he carried Crimea by one million votes! So with Crimea gone, we are almost guaranteed to win the next election! It will be much like the re-districting in the U.S., only much more thorough and lasting ...
BO: I see. Here in the U.S., everything is about the next election too.
AY: We just can't learn from you folks fast enough!
BO: There is much you can learn from me, personally - I have won twice!
AY: True! I am not elected and I will do everything possible to win the next election. I mean anything, just like you!
BO: Is there anything we should do after the referendum in Crimea this Sunday? For example, we can claim that it was held under the threat of Russian artillery.
AY: Wow, that's way over the top! Just let Crimea go, in the name of honoring the will of the people, plus the understanding that we are almost guaranteed to win the next election in May! Sorry, what's English expression for that?
BO: Killing two birds with one stone?
AY: Exactly - Thank you!
BO: This has been a very good conversation. Because we have already recognized you, we will stick with you, even though it's contrary to our policy of spreading democracy by the sword.
AY: Thank you very much! If we win the next election, you can count on us as an ally!
BO: Good luck to you and I look forward to that!