From the classic Simpsons episode, Bart the Genius, watch as Bart - who cheated his way into a gifted school - gets swindled out of his lunch by his classmates:
LUNCH - Bart sits with a group of students a table.
STUDENT: Tell you what, Bart, I'll trade you the weight of a bowling ball on the eighth moon of Jupiter from my lunch for the weight of a feather on the second moon of Neptune from your lunch.
BART: Well, OK.
[The student snatches up Bart's sub.]
STUDENT: There you go.
He hands him a grape. Everybody laughs.
STUDENT 2: I'll trade you 1,000 picoleters of my milk for 4 gills of yours.
BART: Well, all right.
STUDENT 2: Anything you say.
[He takes Bart's carton and pours four tiny droplets into Bart's cup.]
STUDENT 3: Uh, Bart, would you wager your cupcake against my---?
BART: Save your breath. (hands over the cupcake and walks away dejected)
STUDENT 3: What do you think of the new kid?
STUDENT 1: A rather mediocre genius.
STUDENT 2: Yes, not very bright at all.
(the scene starts at the 2:20~ish mark)
We bring this up to add context to perhaps the greatest flub (to date) of the Obama administration's attempts at conducting foreign policy...it appears as if the "negotiations" we were conducting with a "top level" member of the Taliban were actually being conducted with an impostor at best, a Pakistani/Taliban spy at worst.
For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.
But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.
“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”
President Obama and his team of smart diplomats,taken in by a scam so hackneyed it could have come from a Nigerian email account.
Afghan and American officials have been puzzling over who the man was. Some officials say the man may simply have been a freelance fraud, posing as a Taliban leader in order to enrich himself.
Others say the man may have been a Taliban agent. “The Taliban are cleverer than the Americans and our own intelligence service,” said a senior Afghan official who is familiar with the case. “They are playing games.”
Others suspect that the fake Taliban leader, whose identity is not known, may have been dispatched by the Pakistani intelligence service, known by its initials, the ISI.
Cleverer than us? That's debatable. But smarter than the "mediocre genius" who currently poses as the American president? That's undeniable.
What next, a televised address from the Oval Office saying our national debt has been resolved thanks to our winning of an international lottery, the proceeds of which we will receive after we wire a $1B "handling fee" to an overseas account?
Were it any other nation, I would be on my knees, laughing. Instead, I weep...and they ain't tears of laughter, either....