Scratching the Joseph Nye itch

Reports have been emerging from Sirte, the Libyan coastal city where Qaddafi was found and ultimately killed, that political scientist and Harvard Kennedy School of Government professor, Joseph Nye, was traveling with the ex-Libyan leader at the time of his capture.

Nye – highly esteemed neo-liberal, creator of the much championed theory of soft power, palaver extraordinaire, and opportunist-for-hire – had been with Qaddafi since the former leader’s departure from Tripoli in August. When asked by members of Libya’s National Transition Council (NTC) why he was accompanying the ousted dictator, Nye replied that he had been asked by a former colleague and business partner who worked for Qaddafi to help the fallen leader transition from political office holder to private citizen.

“There are many precarious steps involved when one transitions from the public to private sector,” Nye told Jafiriali Al-Semanti, the NTC interpreter who first questioned the American on his presence in the Libyan desert. “Muammar was understandably quite nervous about this new phase of his life. Initially one is often overcome with despair at the thought of not being able to serve one’s people. However, when realizing the avenues that are opened in the private sector for those individuals with the experience and professional connections of former heads of state, settling into a new lifestyle becomes a more manageable and agreeable prospect. I was asked to help ease this process.”

According to witnesses at the scene, this answer did not go over well with certain members of the NTC brigade who had found Nye with the former Condoleezza Rice-infatuated leader. As one witness put it, “I didn’t appreciate his sanctimonious insouciance. And he was so tall and bald.”

There are conflicting reports of what happened next, but apparently some punches were thrown at the tall, bald American who was told, allegedly, “to go rot with the steaming rat for whom he worked.”

According to Al-Semanti, Nye took offense to this accusation. “He pleaded with his handlers to stop hitting him, asking them repeatedly why they thought he worked for Qaddafi when he had clearly told them that he was only in Libya at the request of a friend and former Harvard colleague.”

Apparently, this explanation proved convincing. For after sustaining three open-handed slaps to his glabrous dome and two dead-legs to each of his shriveling legs, Nye’s handlers picked him up off the ground, apologized sheepishly for hitting him and offered him something to drink.

“Perhaps you are thirsty?” one of them allegedly asked. “Would you like something smooth and refreshing? Perhaps a Coca-Cola classic?”

According to another witness at the scene, Nye replied, “Thank you, my friend. I would most assuredly love one.” He took a long drink, paused for a minute and then looked up at his captives. “Did you know I was partly, well mainly, responsible for bringing this delicious beverage to your country?” He smiled, pausing for dramatic effect. “And if you would allow, I could negotiate many more similarly great things for your new and blossoming republic.”

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