WASHINGTON (Rooters agency) – Off the record, administration officials admit to surprise at the widespread international reaction to the temporary closing of 20-some US embassies because of a perceived threat of terrorist attack.
In virtually every country concerned, government officials – also off the record – have greeted the embassy closings with emotions ranging from relief to enthusiasm.
“We were worried at first,” said a senior government minister in an African country. “We thought that closing the embassy would mean the US diplomats wouldn’t have to spend so much of their time abusing and underpaying their local staff. That would mean that they had all the more time to tell us how to make our country look like South Carolina in the 1850s.
“Luckily, the ambassador took ‘embassy closing’ to mean that he and his staff should hide inside the embassy, rather than risk terrorist attack by venturing out in public. So we’ve had several days of freedom from being talked down to by twits. I can’t remember that ever happening before, although one of my older colleagues thinks that most of the US embassy went into hiding for several days during the 1962 missile crisis.”
In a country in Asia, a minister in charge of mining and investment decisions said, “This is the first time in ages I’ve had a chance to spend an evening with my family.” Normally, he said – “like eight or nine nights a week” – the embassy arranges dinners “with US businessmen who think they have a license to do anything if they pay for the dinner.”
“It was almost amusing,” said a South American government official. “When the gringo embassy closed, the political parties it was funding didn’t know what to do. How could they pay for their next TV denunciation of corruption, not to mention more important things like their next night on the town? Some of them actually demonstrated outside the embassy.”
In Italy, the closure provided an opportunity for several local police, who waited outside the embassy and arrested two CIA agents who were banging on the gate after a kidnapping attempt went awry. The enterprising but naive carabinieri, who seem to have thought that their action would be welcomed by their government, have not been heard from recently. The CIA agents, while awaiting judicial action, have been reassigned to chaperone Silvio Berlusconi’s bunga bunga parties.
So far, there have been no known public or private objections by countries whose US embassies have been closed. There do not even appear to have been any expressions of hope that the closures will be of short duration.
However, there are reports that the governments of some countries not among those whose US embassies have been closed have begun sending fictional emails designed to suggest a terrorist threat. They assume that the US Non-limited Surveillance Agency will read the emails and report them to President Obama, resulting in their US embassy being closed, if only for a short time. More emails can be sent later.