I was amazed how grateful Manny was. Over lunch in the Brussels Belvedere, Jose Manuel Barroso looked like a puppy who had proudly peed for the first time on schedule. “The Americans gave me this Google Glass out of gratitude,” he showed happily. “Of course I should give it on to you since you actually published the piece, but I presume you allow me to keep it. Pretty soon the whole EU Commission will have it, and I need to take the lead. My wife says that my eyes make weird movements when she finally succeeds in taking it off me. I suppose she hadn’t noticed that my eyes did so anyhow.”
“I probably wouldn’t mind if the EU Commission all got Google Glass, especially for the official state picture,” I admitted. “It might come across a bit like the X-men or the Men in Black. But I would be more worried about the programs they are running. Did you look into that ?”
“Not yet. I have been focussing on the sanctions on Russia. Now that they have actually taken the Crimea, it has become official EU policy to impose sanctions.”
“That is silly. Russia has every right to the Crimea. That is what we discussed last time.”
“Sure. They have more right to take the Crimea than we have of blocking Scotland or Catalunya or Flanders from becoming members of the EU. Still, the rules of international diplomacy tell us that sanctions are in order. This is what international diplomats tell me, anyhow. I would tell you about our list of sanctions but apparently you are not interested so I won’t.”
Manny proudly listed his EU sanctions:
“The use of the Trans Siberia Express is prohibitted, in particular the driving around in circles, while normal use of the East-West connection still is allowed, in both directions.
Use of the rocket launching places in Russia is prohibitted, except for launching a rocket.
Marriage to a Russian is prohibitted, except those marriages that occur between January 1 and December 31 of a particular year.
The import of Russian caviar is blocked, except those imports intended for the West.
At receptions at a Russian Embassy, Western diplomats will not engage in Russian polka’s or Kozak or Derwish dances, unless they are sure to beat the Russians and impress the ladies.
At negotiations on new oil and gas pipelines, the West will refuse to accept pink pipes and insist on normal grey coloured ones that blend in with the landscape.
TV stations in the West will show more often those pictures of president Putin with bare chest on horseback, while the TV presenters will laugh hysterically about the nonsense of it, though they need not hide their admiration.
Whenever a piece of Tchaikovsky or Mussorgsky is played or a piece of Dostoyevsky or Pushkin is read, or a paper of Alexander Herzen is discussed, it is explained that is wasn’t made by president Putin, though he might have done it if he hadn’t been involved in saving the Crimea for Russia.”
Jose Manuel Barroso now looked like two puppies who had proudly peed for the first time on schedule.
“Okay,” I agreed. “You are set on tough negotiations with Putin. If you are wearing Google Glass, you might forget that other people don’t. So the first step is to make sure that also the Russians get it.”
Manny’s glasses flickered, so I presume that someone at Google headquarters understood.