Edge of Apocalypse: pages 91-95 (Chapter Eighteen)
We’ve now moved to Davos, Switzerland, and we meet with a mover and shaker:
“Two entire floors of the Hotel Belvedere had been rented by Caesar Demas to accommodate the large staff that operated his private foundation. For his own comfort, though, the billionaire had secured a sprawling villa in the nearby mountains. He was a man who loved quiet whenever possible. And on the day before the start of his organization’s fifth annual World Peace Summit, he had a lot of thinking to do.”
Caesar, eh? Pretty unsubtle name for a king, or for that matter, a kingmaker. He may not be a king in name, but the economic elite that meet in Davos qualify as a de facto oligarchy in certain ways, since their basic worldview centers around the notion of the primacy of capitalism as an economic system.
However, insofar as this person relates to the story being told by LaHaye and Parshall we must assume he has something to do with the RTS-RGS system.
So who’s this head honcho type fellow meeting with?
“He had not yet finished his tea when Alexi, Demas’s longtime administrative chief, entered the security foyer of the villa’s private quarters, along with the visitor from the U.S. State Department, and pressed the buzzer signaling their arrival.”
They begin chatting about world affairs after some preliminaries:
“‘I was very happy to hear that Secretary of State Danburg will be addressing our peace conference. Has he arrived?’
‘He has. We traveled together. The accommodations are greatly appreciated. Secretary Danburg should be settled into his suite shortly after our security people complete their sweep.’
‘I was hoping to be able to get a sense of his remarks.’
‘We knew you would,’ Burke replied with a smile and handed Demas an envelope. ‘Here’s a draft of his speech. I had the privilege of working on it with him. We’re asking that it remain embargoed until thirty minutes prior to his remarks tomorrow afternoon.’
‘Of course,’ Demas said courteously. He understood the rules. He opened the envelope and began to scan the draft. After a minute, Demas looked up.”
The man, Burke, is the US State Department guy. The book doesn’t indicate how high up he is in the hierarchy, but I imagine it’s reasonable to assume he’s an assistant to the Secretary of State and has been authorized to make this kind of contact with an economic power broker.
And now for a real pet peeve: the constant mixing-up of “scan” and “skim” I see in books everywhere. To scan is to read in some detail and at some length. To skim is to read swiftly to get an overall impression.
In general one is not so rude as to scan a speech or paperwork and make someone else wait. One would skim it to get an eye for any major issues and then later on scan it.
Now that I’m done venting my spleen, I will now continue scanning the book to analyze it for you folks.
They go on to discuss things like ‘universal deterrence’, and we get a big speech from Burke that’s almost certainly intended as button-pushing for the audience over their imagined version of what the United Nations is like:
“‘Yes, in the interests of peace,’ Burke replied. ‘Mr. Demas, the administration also wants you to know that we recognize the fact that you’ve been a good friend to the Corland administration. When the rest of the world was denouncing our use of the RTS weapon system, I know you consulted with U.N. Secretary General Beragund on our behalf. The secretary general’s conciliatory remarks regarding the United States were deeply appreciated by President Corland. I am certain you played a primary role in making that happen.’
‘America is a key player in our hopes for global peace. Anything I can do to help, just ask. And yet…'”
And here’s the dun-dun-DUN moment as Demas trails off. He’s zeroing in on getting the US to trade off on the RTS-RGS for money, but Burke isn’t going to put that on the table as an open suggestion.
“For the next few moments there was dead silence. Burke’s expression showed a lack of surprise. He knew where this was going. But he had to avoid jumping in too quickly. He was certainly not about to reveal any details about President Corland’s willingness to negotiate an international credit-for-weapons trade.
Caesar Demas was a master at getting to the core of an issue, while maintaining a perfect poker-face demeanor. There wasn’t an ounce of emotion on his face. Nothing to reveal just how important the RTS weapons system was to Demas’s ultimate mission.
Finally Mr. Burke responded. ‘There may be the potential for dialogue on that subject, yes. […]'”
And they go on to mention in the usual diplomatic bafflegab about how it wouldn’t do yet to have these back-channel high-level talks go public, and so on. But of course, the chapter needs to bring things back to Mr. Jordan, since he’s the guy being asked to start divulging stuff. Now, to step back a moment and consider the overall thrust of the early part of this book, what we’re seeing here is the motif, which I mocked in Elmer Fudd style of “those wascawwy wiberaws!” (I said “powiticians” last time, but for all practical purposes LaHaye and Parshall are taking aim at the Dems here), of perfidious liberal US political officials selling out the country to those nartsy furriners.
This is what LaHaye and Parshall touch on, indirectly, as shown below:
“‘At the same time,’ Demas added with a note of hesitation, ‘I am aware that the designer of the RTS system, a former Air Force pilot, is engaged in a dispute with Congress. A brazen act, if you ask me…refusing to divulge his design to his own government. Are you sure that the specifications for his weapon system will be available to share with other nations at some point?’
‘That’s just a minor issue. Joshua Jordan will be forced to comply. You needn’t worry about that.'”
The implication is indirect, but you can see it: the US Government is going after Josh Jordan to get the RTS-RGS specs so they can make good on their plan of passing it around in order to get money and oil. And of course no Real True Patriot(TM) would stand for that, nosirreebob. (Never mind that the entire basis for this book is not rooted in real-world military contracting, even if military spending itself is a cesspit of corporations ripping off the taxpayer with Congressional aiding and abetting thereof; there’s a reason why the Pentagon has had “problem disbursements” since the 1980s and they can’t slam a lid on the problem of “problem disbursements”. But at least the actual specifications for nonclassified military projects are, no doubt, available in mind-numbingly boring detail to anyone who wants the engineering drawings, etc, and even the classified stuff is likely similarly well-documented.)
And now for a sudden reveal at the end of the chapter: Demas has more than one game going on, and it’s a pretty good guess as to just whose services he’s been engaging.
“As soon as Burke was gone, Demas immediately placed a call to an ocean shipping office in the industrial harbor of Rotterdam.
A phone rang in the small import-export office tucked among the miles of shipping docks and mammoth industrial loading cranes that stretched along the Dutch coast.
Petri Feditzch, the office manager, answered the phone.
“It’s me,” Caesar Demas began.
Feditzch was a good soldier in Demas’s small army. He knew better than to interrupt. He waited for his boss to continue.”
Demas goes on to say that “our project has to be delayed temporarily”, and Feditzch, who, by the way, is former KGB, is to relay this to the unnamed person (the “messenger”) in question.
I highly doubt it’s much of a spoiler to guess that the person is Atta Zimler.
So, that’s that, and Chapter Nineteen brings us back to Cal Jordan*.
* I really want to write fan fiction about Cal and Karen. 😛 Maybe on a slow week or something I’ll write something up. 🙂