November 2018

Line in the Sand: Pick Me For Ambassador to the United Nations

Author: Barry Kaufman & Courtney Hampson | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Opinion 1: Barry Kaufman
As usual, circumstances may have wildly changed by the time you read this, but as of the time I write this, we are currently without an ambassador to the United Nations. This came about as a result of Nikki Haley dropping the mic after a year spent dealing with all manner of jerkwad countries and their idiotic complaints about all of our freedom.

Mrs. Haley, on behalf of all Americans, thank you for your service. And on behalf of all South Carolinians, please come back as soon as possible. It’s kind of a mess down here. Remember when there was a hurricane coming and you told us to evacuate but also kind of not to evacuate by pointing out that we don’t have a mandatory evacuation and an evacuation “is what it is?” The new guy tried something kind of similar and it was confusing for pretty much everyone involved. His was more “it is, no wait, it isn’t.”

Now I realize that by the time this magazine hits newsstands, President Trump will have appointed someone to fill our former governor’s shoes (pleasenotJaredpleasenotJaredpleasenotJared) but again, this is President Trump we’re talking about. There’s an equal chance that he hasn’t appointed anybody yet or he has appointed someone, and they’ve already quit.

Point being, I like my odds of getting that job.

President Trump, ignore the barbs from a couple paragraphs ago, and let’s instead focus on the future of America and our role within the U.N. After all, if Lindsey Graham can forgive you for giving out his personal cell phone number and embrace the Trump ideology with an alarming zeal, surely you can forgive a few good-natured zingers on my part. Anyway, I feel like my experience makes me incredibly well-suited for the role of ambassador based on the following:

My Diplomatic Experience: As a father of three young children, I am exceptionally skilled at defusing tense situations between hotheaded individuals whose grasp of the English language is tenuous at best. I would point to my level-headed diplomacy during the “I was watching that, you big jerk; I’m telling mom” crisis of 2013 as proof of my bona fides. The way I see it, the Middle East is no different.

Just give one group the remote and the other a tablet they can use to watch Netflix, and we’ll have a McDonald’s on every corner in Syria by the end of the year.

My Governmental Experience: This is easy. I have no governmental experience. But I seem to recall someone else who didn’t have any governmental experience, and he seems to be doing okay, right big guy? I mean, what am I saying? Clearly, I meant the best any president has ever done or ever will do, much better than those losers on Mount Rushmore and definitely better than Obama. I mean to say, Obama who? Was there a president named Obama? Never heard of him. Sucking up to get the job? You wound me.

My International Experience: As a seasoned traveler, I’ve been to several of the places whose representatives I’d be working alongside and can share my experiences with their culture. I’d love to sit down with the representative from Mexico and express my admiration for their people’s Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya and the truly memorable display I put on at its buffet. And I could get the Scottish on my side in a heartbeat, thanks to my time spent attempting to understand their people’s impenetrable accents through a dangerous number of pints. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much most of the places I’ve been. Let’s move on, shall we?

In Summation: Look, I know on paper my résumé isn’t much. But I’ve got one thing that no one else with whom you’ll most likely speak has: other, far more pressing, priorities. If you appoint me U.N. Ambassador, I will be the most checked-out person in that … big room where they do all their meetings, whatever it’s called. I’ll be there pretty much to roll my eyes at other countries and do that subtle one-handed “yak, yak, yak” gesture whenever some windbag from Kyrgyzstan or wherever just won’t shut up. It may not be the best or most sane strategy, but look at it this way. You went with the best and most sane option last time, and she quit. Name me our ambassador to the U.N., and I promise I’ll stick around for at least another year and a half. Or until another crisis bubbles up among my constituents about who gets the remote.

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Opinion 2: Courtney Hampson
I recently got a smart television, so I am finally able to watch Netflix—only eight years behind the rest of the world, which feels like a victory. I’ve been watching The Crown, which has only made me realize how despicable my knowledge of history is. I find myself Googling specific moments in British, American and German history to fact check the series and educate myself. Shame on me for not knowing that Winston Churchill served as Prime Minister of Great Britain twice, or that after abdicating the throne, King Edward spent a lovely holiday with Hitler, or that the Queen Mother was a bit of a pill.

So, it should come as no surprise that my ignorance extends to American government as well. On the heels of Nikki Haley’s resignation from her post as the Ambassador to the United Nations, Barry and I decided to tackle what we’d do if we were appointed to that position.

Of course, this meant that I had to first figure out what being the Ambassador to the United Nations entails. (Thank you again, Google.) Ambassadors to the United Nations are meant to both represent their countries’ interests and relay information back to their home states. As U.S. ambassador, Haley represented the country on the international stage and was responsible for keeping the U.S. State Department aware of international happenings at the United Nations.

Um, what is the United Nations exactly? The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. There are 195 countries in the world today. One hundred ninety-three are members of the United Nations, the remaining two are “non-member observer states,” the Holy See and the State of Palestine.

The United Nations should not be confused with NATO, which is a formal alliance between the territories of North America and Europe. From its inception in 1949, its main purpose was to defend each other from the possibility of communist Soviet Union taking control of their nation.

I feel smarter already.

Important to point out that if Donald Trump called today, I’d have plenty to say to him. However, nothing I said would include, “Yes sir, I would be honored to serve in your administration.” But I digress; this is Barry’s fantasy, not mine.

So, it’s day one and I am in my new office in New York City. Today is likely my first and last day on the job, so I need to act quickly and do what I can.

1. Call Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico. Thank him for guacamole and margaritas. Plan summit soon.

2. Work on pronouncing Azerbaijan, Brunei Darussalam, Côte D’Ivoire, Kyrgyzstan, Seychelles, and Vanuatu. Also work on being able to point out on globe of world.

3. Thank the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, for his last 24 hours of tweets, apropos to his office, about “the power of unity and harmony,” the government’s “unparalleled focus towards eliminating poverty,” “Ensuring that every Indian has a home,” and “Police Commemoration Day.”

4. Issue sanctions against Saudi Arabia. If fact, any country that is murdering and dismembering journalists for touting freedom of speech should have a stern talking to. I hope President Trump will agree with my thinking here, given his penchant for saying whatever the heck he wants with no consequences. (Yesterday he referred to Stormy Daniels as “horse face.” He also spelled Daniels wrong.)

5. Mr. President, with all due respect, can we talk about spellcheck and Twitter in general? Maybe develop some guidelines and messaging points around how we want to be perceived in the world? Perhaps stick to those messaging points?

6. France, I’ve been trying to upgrade my high school level French for an upcoming trip; I beg your patience. Unless I am ordering pronouns in restaurants, we’re going to have some issues.

7. Find secret tapes of Russian collusion.

8. Act surprised when call from White House comes in notifying me of my removal from office.

9. Hold press conference.

10. Later, agree to interview with White House Independent Counsel.

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