The Rage of George
Rattling of Sabres
The Gods of War
In the Clouds
The Tyrant Flees
Out of Order
Doing the Patriot Act
The Little Prince
Ichor of the Gods
The Price of Peace
Dead or Alive
Across the Border
Summer in the City
Wolf and Jackal
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and The Idyossey?
from the shadow of the Eiffel Tower
In a private dining room at the Hotel Crillon,
Jacques Chirac sits at a linen covered table.
His fine, well-tailored suit, a blend of silk cleaned
And pressed by careful hands that afternoon, is
Accented by his Hermes tie, with gold embroidered fleur de lys.
At the table: Aerospace Industrialist, Monsieur Pierre LeBlanc
Economist Monsieur Paul Lehmann.
Retired Général du Corps, Gerard Tessan,
To Tessan’s right, his aide, Michel Dubois.
Next to Chirac sits Madame Fournier,
To take minutes for Le President.
The first course is served, fresh crab en croute.
Chirac takes the first bite, the others soon follow.
They eat in silence, the gold-rimmed plates are cleared.
“Gentlemen,” Chirac intones, “You know why you are here,
Our plan, so neatly drawn is in danger of collapse,
I want to understand plan B since A has failed.”
Madame Fournier sits quietly, her pen ready.
“Monsieur President,” begins Lehmann, “You may be right,
But I must disagree, our plan’s only been set back.
Our strategy will prevail, patience is called for.
As membership in the E.U. grows, so will our currency,
The Euro, in circulation and in trade.”
He continues, “This Iraqi war may pose a problem, I admit,
But the United States and Britain are going it alone,
In time their resources will run thin, and the dollar will be hit.
The Euro will become the only hedge against such loss,
And sentiment in OPEC may shift towards Europe
Where oil sales will increase greatly in the years to come.”
“I know the theory,” Chirac dabs his chin and sips some wine,
“But the only OPEC member to switch to Euros was Iraq,
Abandoning the dollar for the exchange of oil, and now that’s lost!
The American and British strategy is clear: hold back the Euro,
Prevent the OPEC nations from using it for petrol trade and
Keep them stockpiling dollars to offset America's trade deficit!"
Monsieur LeBlanc, one-armed war hero of Algeria, clears his throat,
All turn to him, including Jacques Chirac, in deference.
“We must have patience,” LeBlanc says softly, then looks up,
“Here’s the way it goes. The U.S. spends two hundred billion in Iraq.
The economy in America grinds to a halt, and quickly.
The Euro becomes a hedge every oil-trading nation needs.
“In the meantime,” he continues, “the Arab
Looks to France, not America, for weapons in trade for oil.
These sales will be made in Euros only; it’s all we will permit.
Europe now has a larger economy than the United States.
If Britain sides with the U.S. they’ll be left out. Ultimately
The Euro will be the major currency of commerce.
“So, time is on our side, you see, we must only wait.
Next to switch is Syria, Iran will switch to Euros too.
America cannot invade every country in the Middle East;
They cannot afford it. Despite the U.S. fear of economic loss,
The shift away from investment in the dollar’s going to happen.
Uncle Sam will just have to take the hit.”
The second course is served, grilled fois gras on toast,
A light mustard sauce on sautéed leeks.
All conversation stops while plates are cleaned.
Nods of satisfaction are exchanged, but nothing said,
As if words will somehow let the food escape the mouth
Like a brace of quail frantically erupting from the brush.
The retired Général du Corps, Paul Tessan, begins,
“My friends,” he says, though frankly he dislikes most,
“I agree with LeBlanc, whose experience and insight are unquestioned.
But there is more I must remind you: HELEN.
Right now HELEN is deployed, though she’s disguised,
Looking to the world like our latest weather satellite.
“We know that some in Washington suspect the truth,
If they confirm that she’s in space it could mean trouble.
But, between the petro-Euro threat and HELEN’s military value,
France will ascend to the throne again, a world power;
America’s unipolar plan will be undone, asunder.
U.S. arrogance will help tip world sentiment towards Europe.”
The fish course, quenelles in a truffle cream sauce is next.
Each luncheon guest resumes his silence, savoring each bite
Forks gently press, fish knives slice, gathering sauce.
Some close their eyes while eating,
Removing one distraction from the sensual experience
Giving flavor ample room to grow.
“Don’t underestimate America’s resolve,” Chirac exclaims,
“Look at Venezuela. Just their threat to switch to Euros
Made the U.S. throw a fit and back a coup,
Over the objections of every South American democracy.
Embarrassed, they backed off; yes, Venezuela’s a mess,
But it shows how far the States will go to protect the petrodollar.
“To eliminate the OPEC-Euro threat completely,
America will use Iraqi oil to flood the market,
As oil prices drop, the dollar will rise sharply
Supported by an improved balance of trade,” so says Le President.
The others look impressed, unaware of Chirac’s knowledge,
And surprised by his direct and authoritative manner.
“They call French Fries ‘Freedom Fries’ in
D.C.” he adds brightly,
“No telling how far they will go to make France look bad!”
The gentlemen guffaw, lift their glasses for a toast.
“To Freedom Fries,” says Lehmann. “To Freedom Fries,” they echo,
And with that the main entrée arrives, entrecote, rare,
With Béarnaise sauce and white asparagus from Belgium.
The mood jovial over dessert and espresso,
Some discuss holiday plans, reflect on past vacations.
Curiosity is expressed concerning Mademoiselle
If she is happy in her apartment with its view of the Seine,
And the dear wife, and is she still out of town,
The quality of truffles, the taste of farm-raised pheasant.
At 3 p.m. the luncheon ends, all take their leave.
Monsieur Le President is escorted to his limo, whisked away.
The others say goodbye and drive off. Escorted by
Well-armed Gendarme, France’s powerful elite relax,
Think about dinner, and gaze down the Champs Élysée.
It’s April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom.