‘Between Two Ferns’: What if Obama’s Funny or Die interview was no laughing matter?

Article Highlights

  • Obama-naysayers have accused him of playing checkers, while Putin plays chess. I'm not so sure.

    Tweet This

  • Pres. Obama's much-viewed "Between Two Ferns" interview may have been a stroke of sheer genius.

    Tweet This

  • Here's my translation of Obama's "Between Two Ferns" interview: Vladimir, this crisis is no laughing matter.

    Tweet This

Amidst news of a downed Malaysian Airlines jet, and a foiled Iranian plot to send weapons to Gaza, this week appears to be shaping up as one of the most consequential in President Obama's foreign policy dealings.

That's why his decision to play golf in South Florida, and Tuesday's much-viewed "Between Two Ferns" interview with Zach Galifianakis, left a lot of foreign policy pundits scratching their heads.

What they didn't realize is that Obama's "Funny or Die" interview wasn't an Obamacare recruitment tactic but a stroke of sheer foreign policy genius-the kind of political theater that could leave historians marveling, years from now. Reviewing the dialogue with Putin's Crimean invasion in mind, it's clear our commander-in-chief was talking right past uninsured twenty-somethings, and directly to a Russian commander with his finger on the trigger in the sovereign country of Ukraine.

Here's the way Mr. Putin should read between the lines:

  • "Zach, if I ran for president a 3rd time it'd be kind of like doing a 3rd Hangover movie ... didn't work so well, did it?" Translation: ‘President' Putin, how's that 3rd term in office working out for you?
  • "Everybody loves Bradley Cooper." Everyone loved Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • "I'm a nerd? Really? Do you honestly think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd?"She didn't-and by the way I was watching closely when you kissed her on the cheek.
  • "I'm not letting you anywhere near Michelle." Note to Russian submarine commander stationed 220 miles away, in Havana: I came down here to stare you in the face. We aren't afraid of you. (And don't even think about touching my wife.)
  • "Young people like you tend to think you're invincible, even with spider bites." Careful, Vladimir: our covert operations teams are crawling up your arms as we speak. We've been watching you for months-but you have the power to de-conflict all this, before a possible March 31st Ukrainian-Russian (interim) peace agreement.
  • "Any other message you need to plug, Mr. President?" There is one thing: a little red-button none-too-inconspicuously positioned like an elephant in the room? (Putin if you force my hand, I'd use this-Sochi games niceties notwithstanding.)
  • And the brilliant finish: where's all this happening? Not in a Hollywood studio, and not in Key Largo: in the White House Diplomatic Room-just a few steps, if need be, from the War Room.

Obama-naysayers have accused him of playing checkers, while Putin plays chess. Tuesday's political theater was brilliant, though-brilliant. Watch it again to see what I mean.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Josh
Good

What's new on AEI

Defeating ISIS: AEI experts weigh-in before the president’s address on Wednesday
image Degrading, defeating, and destroying the Islamic State
image Wealth Building Home Loan: Building wealth through homeownership and retirement savings
image The $3 iPhone
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 15
    MON
  • 16
    TUE
  • 17
    WED
  • 18
    THU
  • 19
    FRI
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constitution as political theory

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceasar, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:10 a.m. – Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Third international conference on housing risk: New risk measures and their applications

We invite you to join us for this year’s international conference on housing risk — cosponsored by the Collateral Risk Network and AEI International Center on Housing Risk — which will focus on new mortgage and collateral risk measures and their applications.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Speaker of the House John Boehner on resetting America’s economic foundation

Please join us as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his five-point policy vision to reset America’s economy.

Event Registration is Closed
Friday, September 19, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reforming Medicare: What does the public think?

Please join us as a panel of distinguished experts explore the implications of the report and the consumer role in shaping the future of Medicare.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.