A Tale of Two Summits

June 2010. Late afternoon. Huntsville. Weather pleasant.

“Places everyone.” Canada politely corralled the world’s other economic leaders to the G8 official photo location. All the leaders had attended that morning’s optional session on ‘Getting it Right: Ten Ways to Look Good in Photos.’ Canada expected great results.

Getting a first-class photo, one that captured the Summit’s delicate balance of camaraderie and deep, yet inconclusive dialogue, was no easy task. Afterall, the official photo might be labeled the event’s biggest accomplishment – it shows that all invitees were present and continued to favour traditional dress of dark muted colours. (Avoid patterns was Way #5 to look good in photos).

As the leaders massed together they talked amongst themselves, perhaps about climate change, the war on terrorism or containing the spread of nuclear technology.

“Any ideas on how to keep accountability low on the agenda?” Italy whispered to Germany. Neither had a good record on complying with G8 commitments. “Let’s meet later to discuss. Things were so much easier before WikiLeaks,” lamented Germany.

“Do you really think letting China join us is a good plan? Would a future Summit stamped Made in China help or hinder our image?” Japan questioned France. “China’s economy is pretty big, but you do have a point…” France mulled.

“Climate change isn’t really all that bad. It’s just kind of like the earth getting old, that’s all,” Canada intoned to the United States. Both nodded vigorously.

The Summit was a success: mainly because Canada hadn’t missed the photo session.

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May 2011. Morning. Secret location. Weather unknown. 

“Places everyone.” Cuba put up a hand to stop discussion and started the role call.

The D38 (Dictators Club of 38) meets once every five years or whenever pressing issues affect them. They have only held two meetings: both this year. Missing were Egypt, Libya, Ivory Coast and Tunisia.

“Our numbers are starting to dwindle,” Cuba observed shaking its head. “We used to be such a formidable group.”

The main agenda item was whether there should be more retirement countries for exiled dictators. Rapidly falling comrades had earmarked this as a big concern.

“No problem. We’ve got everyone covered,” assured Saudi Arabia. “There was a sale on prefabs from Guantanamo Bay and we just purchased a number of them.”

The second point was a debate about whether they should create a new Axis group. Syria suggested the Axis of Actually We Do Have Nuclear Weapons.

“Not conspiratorial enough,” snapped North Korea.

The Facebook page We Have Nuclear Weapons and Aren’t Afraid to Use Them was created. Iran immediately clicked “Like.”

“We will now watch an example of how an incumbent government demolished the opposition to win an election.” Cuba turned on the video for the world’s other dictators to see highlights of Canada’s latest Federal election.

The Summit was a success: the dictators left knowing they could look to Canada for election winning strategies when ballot-stuffing just wasn’t enough.