Turgid communiques

How would you like to have a job writing communiques? You know, from these big confabs between world leaders.

How about making a career of writing UN resolutions?

I think of such a career when I hear news reports on the latest UN resolution. France wants to add a line here, take out a line here. Italy worries about these three words. The U.S. frets that some clause has been dropped. The Russians are agin’ it.

When I read or hear this, a small nag pops up in my mind. WHO IN THIS MERRY WORLD GIVES A DARN!!!??

Truth is, nobody does. Or nearly nobody.

The only people who care about the phrases and deletions and inclusions are the boobs who write them. The bureaucrats who make careers out of writing this tripe.

Forgive me for being so disrespectful. But can you blame me? Thousands of hours go into crafting these things. And nobody reads them. And worse, nobody does what they ask.



I mean, do you really believe the Israelis and Hizbollah leaders pay the slightest attention? Can you picture them huddling around the latest UN resolution saying “Hey, we’d better do what they say. They mean business. Just look at the nastiness of that clause. And pay attention to those three words the Italians added. They send chills down my spine.”

Now these are not casual resolutions. Nobody slapped them together: “Let’s see now... Hezbollah knock it off. Israel get the hell out of Lebanon. There, that should do it. Let’s go have a beer.”

Bureaucrats scrubbed dinner engagements to work on these. They consulted with their governments. They argued the finer points. They negotiated. They appealed and begged. They disputed. They worked hard. For naught. For nada. For nuttin’. They created toilet paper.

Communiques are no better. Those are the ridiculous pronouncements that come at the end of a conference or summit. Or whatever.

“We exchanged frank views on a wide variety of topics. Although both parties noted points upon which we disagree, there were points upon which there was agreement in principle.”

Could you face your spouse and kids if you authored this. “Hey, look at this brilliant piece of writing I produced to summarize this conference.”

“Hon, those are the identical words you wrote for the conference last year.”

“They are? Must be some mistake.”

Do you really feel anyone would notice?

These communiques can easily be written six months before the meeting. Because nobody reads them. Or nearly nobody.

Reporters read them as if they have something to say. This is because the reporters have nothing else to go on. The two secretaries of state or presidents gave them a 60-second photo op. Then they read the communique. The reporters have nada. Except for “The leaders exchanged frank views on a wide variety of topics. We go now to our political analyst to tell us what this means for relations between the two nations.”

“Thanks, Dan. Reading between the lines of this communique - and noticing the color of the shoes Secretary Rice chose to wear on this important occasion - it seems to me there were some frank discussions. There were exchanges of frank views...”

Imagine spending your working years churning out such turgid communiques and resolutions. You could brag to your grandchildren some day. “Why, I wrote the resolutions that called upon the factions in the Mideast to stop fighting.”

“And did they stop, grandpa?”

“The resolutions? Nope. They kept on comin’ I wrote fifty of them.”

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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