Jake Swinestein, principal of Swinestein Consultancy, that specializes in lobbying for the arms industry, is meeting TT Swindleberger, principal of TTS Communications, a public relations firm that serves arms exporters and some of the major buyers of U.S. made weaponry, are meeting at their favorite watering hole, the Z Street Bar in Washington, D.C.
The topic of their discussion is the impending U.S.-Taliban peace agreement.
Swinestein has ordered a stiff tropical drink that has vodka, gin, tequila, and rum, topped with cumquat juice and wedges. His countenance shows that he is not much pleased with the news emerging from Qatar where the U.S. diplomats have been meeting with Taliban representatives.
With his eyes focused on his drink, he starts talking, “TT what is happening! Didn’t Trump tell Fox News that he had canceled hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid because Pakistan doesn’t do a damn thing for the United States despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid? And whoosh! We see Zalmay Khalilzad being made the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation at the Department of State and sent to Pakistan to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to help nudge the Taliban toward peace talks.
“TT, you know my clients have been enjoying this Afghanistan windfall for 17 years when George W. Bush sent the boots there.”
Swindleberger offers, “Jake, you remember how Pakistan helped us drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. You used to tell me about routing tons of guns through Pakistan. Today, the same Pakistan is helping to get us out of that country.”
Once again Swinestein affixes his gaze on his drink and offers, “TT, but do you see that the Taliban are negotiating from a position of strength. The talks have played out exactly how they would have wanted them to play out: Direct talks with the U.S., without the regime that we have put up in Kabul, and our readiness toward a troop withdrawal deal.
“We don’t deal with terrorists and now we have this agreement for exchange of prisoners of war between the United States and the Taliban.
“I don’t like the look of it… the smell of it. There is no mention that we will arm the Taliban after we handover the administration to them.
“Such rapid progress is remarkable and admirable, but it also raises the risk that we in our haste to cut a deal and head for the exits, will give too much away or not get enough back in return.”
Swindleberger, deeply concerned about his friend’s stressful outlook, adds, “Jake just stop worrying. These guys keep an eye on the public mood. Did you hear that a few days ago, more than 65,000 gun fans gathered for the biggest weapons show of the year in Las Vegas. And this place is just a few miles away from the location of the worst mass shooting in American history.
“They will never let down weapon makers. No American president has let down weapons makers. Israel wanted it and George Bush attacked and destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama took care of Libya. Although he couldn’t get ahead in Syria, but he kept Afghanistan going.
“Jake, just keep your faith in the Lord. Right now Trump wants money for his wall. Congress is not giving him. So he has to save on the Afghan war, and the bargain is the Trump Wall. Not just the wall at the southern border, but he can also afford a wall with Canada because these Middle East guys… these terrorists will start coming from the north.
“Yes, Trump wants his wall … the only thing that doesn’t have his name is the Trump Wall… so he has to cut the Afghan war.
“You can’t imagine how much he loves walls! He even offered to end the trade dispute if China let him name their wall, The Great Trump Wall.”
Swinestein, who is still inconsolable, asks, “But TT what about the millions of Americans dependent on our weapons industry?
“TT, you know the other day, when he agreed to reopen the government, Ann Coulter said that Trump is now biggest wimp ever to serve as President, she meant that that he is even wimpier than George HW Bush! He is the cut and run guy.”
Swindleberger makes another attempt to sooth Swinestein’s nerves, “Jake never forget Israel. What I see is that Trump is winding up in Afghanistan so that he can launch a war against Iran. You know how Donald’s deep friend [Israeli prime minister] Netanyahu has been begging him for this war. And I forgot that his friend MbS [Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman] has also been begging Donald for this too.
“Jake, this war will be huge! Trump’s advisers have told him that destroying Iran’s country’s nuclear capacity entirely would require a massive military effort. Imagine the weapons you guys will be selling!
“Wars are part of us. We have been at war for 222 out of our 239 years since 1776.
“Jake, don’t worry, America needs another war and pronto.”