“The name is Obama. Barack… Obama.”
This is not the way President Obama is ever going to introduce himself to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, either via telephone, in person or by way of an emissary’s hand-delivered correspondence. But if the 44th Commander-in-Chief were to utter such a James Bond-like catchphrase, he could be forgiven.
That’s because Obama‘s newest frontline nemesis, an avowed fan of the 007 series, has chosen to cast the Leader of the Free World in a wonky echo of the 1967 Sean Connery-starring entry You Only Live Twice. The Korean dictator may still be ailing from a stroke suffered last summer, but he remains a far scarier villain than Donald Pleasance’s volcano-dwelling bad guy Ernest Blofeld (the inspiration for Mike Myers’ Austin Powers character Dr. Evil). As such, he is equally oblivious to the dangers of engaging in a high-stakes game of nuclear cat-and-mouse.
On the other hand, there are no ornamental Bond girls here, of the kind that bounce through the whole adventure and come out, preposterously, without a scratch. No, in this case the unwitting female co-stars are the very real – and very innocent – American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.
These two women, caught up in the silent maelstrom of the greatest news story of their careers, must now rely on some James Bond-ian feats of diplomacy to bring this perverse low-budget remake to a speedy, happy conclusion.