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When Hillary Met Karzai (Diplomatic Film Documentary)

A hypothetical conversation about what’s good for Afghanistan
Walton Cook
Wednesday 3 November 2010

Reading time: (Number of words: )

Hillary: (Smiling broadly) Well, we are going to make you a diplomatic offer you can’t refuse.

Karzai: (Puzzled) I’m listening, Madam Secretary.

Hillary: (Still smiling) You’ll love it! We are willing to replace every cent of Afghan GDP represented by narcotics plant cultivation, that’s $2.8 billion; and to pay farmers and farm workers in full—in return for cultivating alternate crops; so that’s another $1 billion. On top of that, we will invest another $1.2 billion in healthcare, clean water, education and rule-of-law support. That’s $5 billion total. And here’s the best part, we will guarantee that for ten years, and that’s $50 billion dollars of agricultural diplomacy! (Hillary is now beaming, knowing OECD nations will save over $2 Trillion in the same period).

Karzai; (Frowning, brows deeply furrowed) What if we say no?,,, that too many important people make vast sums because of narcotics plants. If I may tell you confidentially, the poor farmers and farm workers are not the people I have to satisfy—my dear brothers—the people that really matter.

Hillary: (Thin-lipped) I’m not obligated to tell you either, but in the same candid spirit of confidence, State has recently funded NRC convened scientists who are evaluating the efficacy of biological controls for narcotics producing plants. If we succeed, which I think we will, we can render whatever soil we select to become inhospitable for narcotics plants to grow there. These are organisms we introduce to the soil, an inoculation, not like spraying chemical herbicides. In fact, the plants do not even have to be planted. We do this before or between plantings, not after. You have already said no to RoundUp because it kills all plants, including those intended for food. (Very deliberately; but now a thin-lipped smile ) But—if you also say no to this offer, modern science will put an end to Afghan narcotics, but then without any compensation—not a penny!

Karzai: (Looking very uncomfortable and pained) But how will I satisfy the important people who want income from narcotics.

Hillary: (Firmly) Narcotics are illegal, People who do this to exploit farmers for their own gain are criminals. In your religion as well, there is no way to honorably be involved with drugs.

Karzai: (Angry) What will I tell my people?

Hillary: (Smiling again) Tell them what I offered—that they have an opportunity of a lifetime. Tell them that a lifetime is more than expecting to live to age 44, that there is a much brighter future. Tell them that, all of them, including your people that matter.

Karzai: (Nodding) Is that it?

Hillary: (Offering her hand) That’s it, except I need to know before our Afghan strategy is finalized; aah; for the people that matter. It’s a very generous offer—much too good to refuse!

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