Doesn’t it feel like the conversation that got us where we are went something like this?
CAMERON, SARKOZY, OBAMA: Well, this is an unexpectedly pleasant development. Up until now, everybody toppled in this wave of people power demonstrations has been folks we’re pretty solid with. Now finally somebody none of us like is getting the shaft.
BERLUSCONI: None of us? Excuse me?
SARKOZY: Pardon – somebody who is like by nobody we like and nobody that matter.
BERLUSCONI: Listen to petit Nicolas here – hey, you know, I bumped into Carla at a party last night, or should I say, she bumped into me, if you know what I mean, and –
SARKOZY: You keep your hands off –
GATES: Excuse me, gentlemen – I just wanted to let you know, it doesn’t look like Colonel Gaddafi is going quite as quietly as we had all hoped.
CAMERON: I say!
OBAMA: I see.
GATES: Indeed – once the rebels resorted to arms and declared their independence, Gaddafi regained the support of much of his own tribal base. The rebels are now substantially overmatched by any metric except territory held, but the “holding” of much of that territory is pretty nominal. Based on the way things stand now, in a matter of days Gaddafi could be in a position to retake Benghazi and rout the rebels entirely.
OBAMA: That would be awkward.
CAMERON: Rather – after all, we’d already declared victory on this one.
OBAMA: What pressure could we bring to bear on the regime to bring some kind of negotiated solution?
GATES: I think that question should really be posed to –
CLINTON: Me, thank-you Bob. Now, Barry, this is no time to go wobbly. Gaddafi isn’t going to respond to outside pressure. He doesn’t need his Swiss bank accounts to win this. And once he’s won, he’s not going to go anywhere. He waited out the whole world after Lockerbie. Sanctions may make us feel better, but they won’t stop him – and now that the other tribes have take up arms, the odds of some kind of coup by other members of the regime, like we had in Tunisia and Egypt, are pretty much zip. If we don’t do something, Gaddafi wins, and he wins on our watch.
BERLUSCONI: Forza Gaddafi!
SARKOZY: Tais-toi, tu singe velue!
OBAMA: What do you think, Adel?
AL-JUBEIR: Needless to say, we are reluctant to endorse any proposal to take military action against an Arab state. Of course, Colonel Gaddafi has never been a particularly cooperative member of the Arab League. Moreover, were he to succeed in retaining power by force where our old friends Ben Ali and Mubarak –
SARKOZY: Since the days of de Gaulle, France has been une puissance musulmane. And yet, we are supposed to do nothing to protect our Tunisian friend, while this mafioso –
BERLUSCONI: Can I help it if I’m lucky? Why just last night, me and Carla –
SARKOZY: You and Carla what?!?
CAMERON: I’m sorry, Silvio, but you really are off-side. We simply can’t allow a chap like Gaddafi to have his own way after we showed our own friends the door when they lost the support of their people.
OBAMA: Am I hearing right that you and Nick are ready to take the lead on this one?
SARKOZY: C’est un honneur inattendu.
CAMERON: But just to be sure –
GATES: We could spare a few Tomahawks, if it makes a difference.
OBAMA: Will we have the League’s support, Adel?
AL-JUBEIR: I think I can safely say that we are all hoping for the same outcome.