My trip to the United Nations

Recently I stumbled upon a magic lamp. “What do you desire most?” the genie asked. “I want to go to the United Nations,” I told him. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” he replied. Angry, I asked, “What? You can’t grant my wish?” “No,” he said, “I’m just sorry to hear that the thing you want most is to go to the UN.”

Continue reading “My trip to the United Nations”

Buffer zones

Security Council Summit on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament
UN Photo/Mark Garten

Historically, China and Russia have resisted the United Nations whenever it’s tried to mess with North Korea. According to America, this is because they’re both trying too hard to defend their “problem child.”

The trend started in 1950, where China condemned UN action during the Korean War. Decades later, Resolution 1718 rolled out in response to North Korea’s 2006 nuclear test. It  called for a ban on imports and exports to the country. As it happens, China was much more lax in enforcing this than others. Amidst the Great Hacking Fiasco of 2014 (unofficial name), the Security Council held a briefing on the human rights crisis in North Korea. China was against this briefing from the start. In 2015, the Council faced a similar problem.

Continue reading “Buffer zones”

UN General Assembly 2015: What They Really Said

Hey, everyone. Nic over at PineTreeRepublic gave me the amazing opportunity to write a guest post for the blog! Check it out here, and give PTR some love while you’re there. They’re a well-written political blog that focuses on Canadian news, but also on engaging readers and fostering community and intelligent discussion.

The story features my expert* analysis of key speeches made during the United Nations General Assembly earlier this month. Not sure what the UNGA is? Imagine each country taking a turn to stand on a metaphorical soapbox and  1) say a bunch of fluffy stuff about development and equality and peace, and 2) make really passive-aggressive insults at countries they don’t like. For the story, I used my personified characters to translate speeches by America, Russia, China, Switzerland, North Korea, and Canada.

Again, thanks to PineTreeRepublic for giving me the opportunity. It was a lot of fun to write. Maybe in the future, you guys will see something from them show up here on P&P (wink).

*Not actually expert; I just said that because it sounded cool

Paint it green

Photo by
Photo by MadGeographer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

America came in 15 minutes late with a tall pumpkin spice latte in his hand. To be fair, most everyone else wish they’d done the same. Talking about poverty, world hunger, and the inevitable death of the planet during a United Nations Sustainable Development Summit wasn’t the most uplifting way a person could spend their morning. Some countries funneled their caffeine spiked energy into making the best of it, though.

The United States slammed a fist down on the oblong table as he sprung up, and everyone looked at him with varying degrees of annoyance. “People!” He shouted, looking around the conference room. “Let’s get serious about saving the world, okay? Let me ask you something. What are we here for? We’re here to eliminate hunger, and poverty, and global warming.”

He brought a closed fist into the palm of his hand each time he punched out a word with rhythmical, increasing intensity. “Education equality, gender equality, clean water. Save the fish, save the trees, save the children, save the bees.” He pointed at different people around the room wildly for no reason other than to be doing something with his hands. “Solar energy! Wind energy! Smart cars! Gluten-free! Al Gore!”

A couple rows away, Ethiopia writhed as her important discussion with India and Kenya about infrastructure development in Sub-Saharan Africa became increasingly harder to sustain through the noise.

“Look,” America said, having both found his seat and calmed down some. “I don’t want to point fingers, but China’s air pollution is a huge problem.”

“As is your verbal pollution,” China retorted flatly without looking up from his notes.

America leaned forward, craned his neck, and eyed the other with a scrutinizing glare. “Do you think this is a joke? A game? We’re in the 11th hour, here! There’s only 12 hours on a clock, China! Which means we’re all pretty much fu–”

Canada swooped in. “America, please. All we need from you right now is your presence so we can formally adopt the new development agenda. So let’s just do what we came here to do, eh?”

“Alright, okay,” America said in a tone that came off as slightly offended. “I’m ready for this. I woke up ready for this. I also woke up ready to meet the Pope, so let’s hurry this up.”

From across the table Sweden spoke up. “Can we go back to the thing about saving the fish?” Her voice softened. “I like fish. I have a two at home. Ansgard and Arnborg–”

America threw up his hands and shouted, “The Pope, Sweden!”

When they stepped out of the UN Headquarters and into the cool fall air, light from the big beautiful sun burning their eyes, they felt good. They’d ended the day with a sense of accomplishment, hope for a brighter future, and a backup plan to colonize Mars should the whole ‘save Earth’ thing not work out.

A big shout-out to Pine Tree Republic for giving me the idea to do a story on the UN summit.

Check out Behind the Scenes for a fun explanation of this story’s historical and political references.

Who Should You Fight: Security Council edition

Photo by jsab CC
Photo by jspad CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Ever thought about brawling a member of the United Nations? Here’s some advice.

United States: Go for it. He’s a superpower but he’s prone to making mistakes. Start with a jab at American exceptionalism and follow up by telling him George Washington was a socialist. You can go in for the kill while he’s having an existential meltdown. There’s a good chance he’ll end up kicking his own ass.

Russia: Don’t futz with Russia. Just don’t. A lot of countries have been down that road and they’re never the same afterward–physically, emotionally, economically. She’ll have you crying ten seconds into the match. But hey, if you think you can fight through the stream of tears, power to ya. (Hint: If you have to, use the safeword ‘Sputnik’)

France: Don’t fight France. Not saying that you couldn’t win (because you probably could), but why would you want to? This country is responsible for baguettes, which are delicious. Look, he’s already the butt of enough surrender jokes to last a lifetime. Just leave France alone.

China: You probably don’t want to do this. The Qing dynasty may have gotten beaten up a lot, but 21st century China don’t mess around. Plus, he probably knows one-hundred different ways to kill someone with just his hands.

United Kingdom: Do it. Think you’ll have trouble fighting four countries at once? Nah. They’ll spend more time fighting each other than you. Just sit back and watch until there’s only one left, then pummel the survivor while they’re in a weakened state. Easy victory.