HONG KONG — President Barack Obama is currently reshuffling his national security team after his re-election, and top on his list of tasks is to find a replacement for Hillary Clinton at the State Department. So far, two names have come to the fore: Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
Both have their supporters as well as their critics, and I don’t intend to disparage either one. The always-illuminating New York Times columnist Tom Friedman put forth an innovative choice of his own for the job. But I have my own pick for the post: Fred Rogers.
Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Jamie, not only is Mr. Rogers not seeking the job and not only does he have no foreign policy experience to speak of, but he is also dead.”
And in fact, the dead thing is actually a really good point. So scratch Mr. Rogers. Forget I even recommended him.
The real person who I think should be secretary of state is Sylvester Stallone.
I know at first blush this seems like a strange choice. But it all depends on what you think a secretary of state should do in the 21st and — for those of you forward-thinking enough — 22nd centuries. So here’s why I’m nominating Stallone (full disclosure: I don’t have the power to nominate anybody for secretary of state).
Let’s start with the obvious. A big part of the job of secretary of state is intimidation. Even at 66, Stallone is pretty intimidating, especially to those who confuse him for the characters he has played in movies. It isn’t too far-fetched to believe that we could achieve some foreign policy successes from this fact alone. Believe you me, Vladimir Putin and Bibi Netanyahu aren’t going to roll over Rocky Balboa.
But on a more completely irrelevant level, wouldn’t it also be nice if we had a secretary of state who could start a conversation with a Hamas leader by asking them if they want an autograph and a picture with him, instead of whether they think Israel should exist?
Stallone could bring together multiple constituencies, because what constituency leader wouldn’t want a picture with Stallone sporting boxing gloves and looking at them menacingly? If the price is that they have to talk to so-and-so who they hate, so be it.
There is even a larger point here. One of the biggest issues today is poverty. To have a secretary of state who cannot only help explain how to start a movie industry in another country, but inspire hope by telling the tale of a down-on-his-luck boxer who went on to be champion of the world, is invaluable. Can John Kerry do that? Can Susan Rice do that? Tom Friedman’s choice, Arne Duncan, certainly can’t.
What’s more is that Stallone is actually more suited for the traditional role of secretary of state than you might imagine. What are three of the top hot spots in the world right now? Afghanistan comes to mind. So does Burma, where President Obama just visited. And Vietnam is at the center of the increasingly contentious South China Sea territorial disputes. Well, while it is unclear if Stallone has ever been to any of those countries in real life, as John Rambo he has visited and kicked ass in all of them.
And what better then having America’s finest fake Special Forces warrior organize the Syrian opposition into a coherent group, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has tried to do. Do you think she was able to impart wisdom gleaned from launching fake counterinsurgencies in four — yes, FOUR — Rambo films?
In short, America is still number one, but we face unique challenges in the world at a time of Middle East upheaval and the rise of China. So while we’re not going to place one of our top 1980s action stars as secretary of state, let’s at least understand why it’s not such a preposterous idea.
Jamie Weinstein is the co-author, along with Daily Caller editor Will Rahn, of the satirical novel, “The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama’s True Intergalactic Ambitions By An Anonymous White House Staffer.” Buy it here.