The world: a primer,3604,411198,00.html

“When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they’re there.” - George W Bush, January 2000

1 Great Britain

Small American dependency located approximately 5,000 miles outside Galveston, Texas. (Think Puerto Rico, except with funny accents.) State governor understood to have Democratic sympathies; Palm Beach-style ballot papers in forthcoming general election could be the answer here.

2 Baltic states

Former Yugoslavia is still an unstable region in the heart of Europe, so probably best to avoid any trips to nearby capitals (eg London) until resolved. Massive Nato force in Kosovo, home of the Kosovars, which includes approximately two American soldiers, employed in a high-risk military post-room environment - potential negative impact on domestic support here. Should not be confused with the Balkan states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

3 China

Big country rumoured to have a population almost as large as California’s. Leadership has shown communisticalist tendencies in the past, but economy now represents major potential opportunities for Beanie Babies and Dunkin’ Donuts.

4 Ireland

Country of origin of 99.9% of all white, non-Jewish, non-Polish Americans, so worth cultivating from an electoral point of view. Also a crucial source of those IRA agents you said you’d be needing to implement new taxation policies.

5 Iraq

The fate of the Kurds is simply a tragic waste of human life, seeing as how they are perfectly well qualified to do all the menial jobs on oilfields supplying fuel to the US - and all in exchange for a few packets of aspirin. Also probably worth forging closer diplomatic relations, what with more and more American imports coming from overseas and everything. (Support of leader could also provide a useful Middle Eastern bridgehead for combating all the madmen and terrorists of this world, eg Saddam Hussein.)

6 Slovakia

See Slovenia.

7 Slovenia

See Slovakia. (Although, on second thoughts, probably best not to bother.)

8 Colombia

Formerly an extremely convenient source of cocaine for young and irresponsible scions of wealthy American dynasties. Recently, however, has curiously metamorphosed into a hotbed of evil narcotic exporters whom all decent Americans must surely wish to see eradicated once and for all.

9 Russia

A confusing one these days. Recent reports suggest that the Russian government is seething with corruption, its labyrinthian offices and corridors staffed by indolent good-for-nothings with a history of heavy drinking. As such, few points of similarity with a Bush administration, and probably therefore not a priority.

10 Canada

A winter-sports town that is popular with vacationing Americans. Sizeable minority of population speak in unidentified foreign language. Cf: Greece.

11 Cuba

Vast, evil empire funded by cigar exports. This sinister nation exerts a massive and dangerous influence on global security which must be held in check at all costs. The rest of the world is in full agreement with the Bush administration that Fidel Castro represents a significant threat to world security, as opposed, say, to being a laughable speechifying bore with comical facial hair whose biggest achievement to date is failing to have suppressed the Buena Vista Social Club.

12 Mexico

Population that is roughly evenly divided into a) an excellent source of cheap labour for major US corporations and b) hordes of reprehensible wetbacks.

13 Alaska

America’s last true wilderness, a haven for wolves, reindeer and caribou. Which is kind of stupid when you think about it, given the untapped oil reserves that lie underneath all that snow. With just a little bit of mining, why, you could easily turn this into a landscape which is just as visually stunning as, oooh, central Texas.

14 Greece

Reportedly the home to a large population of Grecians. Evidently this is not worth taking seriously, since any mention of said Grecians in interviews seems to provoke uncontrollable laughter on the part of listeners.

15 Rogue States, Madmen, Terrorists And Stuff

Initial CIA briefings indicate significant security risks. We don’t know where they are, but they’re there, and we don’t know who “they” are, but there is a they, and the they that there is are there. Wherever that is. (See also: Middle East and Pakistan’s leader, General “General”.)

16 Florida

Unpredictable independent republic bordering Alabama. Ruling junta is thought to be sympathetic to a Bush White House, but has yet to embrace American principles of democracy and fair elections, and is highly vulnerable to coups d’état. One for the CIA, perhaps?

Bring on the Ministry of Silly Walks!

Bah! Ignorant foreigners. Central Texas is stunningly beautiful. Except for the strip malls and I-35.

Maybe compared to the moon or something. Trust me, I lived there.

Has anyone noticed that midwestern buildings remind them of Soviet block housing?

I’m from Iowa originally Jason and I can’t disagree with you more on that one.

You’re losing it mate. The correct response to my setup is:

But once you take away the strip malls and the I-35 there isn’t anything left!