The Helsinki Gambit

In a short two-hour private meeting, the President of the United States was eating out of Vladimir Putin’s hand. Not that Donald Trump wasn’t already on the floor licking up Putin’s table crumbs, but this particular fiat was accomplished on the world stage – a virtual stage built by the thug-in-chief himself. You will have to guess which thug.

As Putin was exiting the Helsinki press platform, he was pulled aside by Sergey Lavrov, his Foreign Minister.

“Comrade President! There is an urgent message requiring your immediate attention.”

“Not now Sergey – not after what just happened. At this moment I can think of nothing but my orange, suck-up sycophant. How could we have hoped for such a success? Have you ever seen such capitulation?”

“Listen Vlad,” urged Sergey. “You cannot ignore this call for even an instant. This could be bigger than anything you could have got from the monkey.”

“Ha – you are not often given to hyperbole Sergey. You begin to sound like POTUS himself! So, who is my mysterious caller?”

“None other than the Prime Minister of Israel. He says he’s got your Syria problem solved.”

“Bibi? Did he give you details?”

“No. He will speak only with you. He asks if you will return his call when you get to your hotel room.”

Later, as his advisors crowded into his suite, (sadly, the Waterfall Girls performance had to be postponed) Vladimir made the call. Moscow and Tel Aviv are in the same time zone, so no one needed to lose any sleep.

“So, Bibi, you’ve got poor old Sergey in a horrible state of excitement – something about Syria. What’s the story?”

“Well, first, Mr. President, your performance in Helsinki was nothing short of astounding. I thought he only groveled like that for me.”

“Tell me, Bibi, when was it Jews perfected the art of flattery – In Egypt with Ramses? I am all yours – in your pocket you might say.” Putin chuckled at his little joke. “But enough! I’m begging to know what you have for me.”

“Well Vlad, it’s like this. You’ve been bombing the rebels and the populace back and forth between Damascus and our border for nearly two years. Big waste of munitions, don’t you agree? Not that it matters, but the U.N. will be sanctioning both of us for all the – what do they call it – human tragedy? I think I’ve come up with a way we can avoid all that…um…, embarrassment. You know how screechingly annoying that Nicki Haley woman can be – it’s like hearing her fingernails scratching the rust off an Egyptian tank.”

“Get on with it Bibi – I’m missing the waterfall tribute. Too bad you’re not here to see it.” Vladimir was still feeling jocular from the days success.

“So, here’s what we do,” continued Bibi. “It is quite simple. We sell Syria to Iran.”

“I don’t get it Bibi. Even if you could pull it off, that puts Iran as your next-door neighbor – at your back door, in fact.”

“Listen Vlad, we don’t sell it to Iran. Actually, we sell it to Hezbollah.”

“Same thing Bibi. The Ayatollah owns Hezbollah.”

“Listen up Vlad. We sell Syria to Hezbollah for one ruble on the condition that if they fire even one BB pellet over the border, we wipe them out and destroy all their Iranian military hardware. Now who’s side is gonna be Hezbollah on?”

“Interesting but where’s that leave Russia if you happen to invade?”

“Again, simple! You’re already there. You’ve got your sea ports for your navy and ground locations for your army bases and you certainly don’t give a damn about the civilization your bombers just wasted.”

“And what does Israel get Bibi? More desert?” Putin needed a full five minutes to catch his breath after nearly expiring from a laughing fit.

“lebensraum,” smiled Bibi.

“Looks like I can cancel the D.C. visit with the monkey,” Vladimir mused dreamily. “Now I won’t have to watch his silly parade.”