Kerry and Lavrov: The London Sessions (Secret Transcript)
Kerry: Hello, Sergey. How are you?
Lavrov: Good, John. You?
Kerry: Fine, fine. How was your flight?
Lavrov: Nice. It’s a short hop from Moscow. You know, John, I’ve always wanted to ask you: Do you have a bed on your plane?
Kerry: Not just a bed. There’s a bedroom and a full bathroom with a shower.
Lavrov: Ah, that’s why you always look so fresh.
Kerry: Yes, but I gotta tell ya, Sergey, I’m tired. I’m always jet-lagged.
Lavrov: Too bad you don’t get miles.
Kerry: I don’t need miles, Sergey. I’m worth $300 million. I could buy my own plane.
Lavrov: [Sighs.] It is so important to marry well.
Kerry: So, Sergey, what are we going to do? Are you guys really going to annex Crimea? And you know, you’re not fooling anyone with the “they aren’t Russian troops” bit.
Lavrov: Look, if it were up to me, the Russian troops would be back in their barracks already. But it’s the big guy. He has his heart set on it. You know, “place in history,” blah, blah, blah.
Kerry: I understand. But you gotta know he is making folks nervous.
Lavrov: He’s making me nervous. Look, this is a guy who never misses an opportunity to take his shirt off in public.
Kerry: Can’t you talk to him?
Lavrov: I’ve tried. He won’t listen. What will Obama do?
Kerry: I don’t know. He’s getting a lot of pressure from the hardliners.
Lavrov: Can’t you just put them in jail? Trumped-up charges? Corruption? Works for us.
Kerry: [Sighs.] Sometimes I wish our system were more like yours. It would make life so easy.
Lavrov: Seriously, though, you wouldn’t send troops, would you?
Kerry: Sergey, we both know that we’re spread a little thin. It depends on the American public.
Lavrov: No offense, John, but the American public couldn’t find Crimea on a map if they were selling big-screen TVs for a dollar.
Kerry: I know, I know. Look we probably wouldn’t send troops, but if the Europeans decide to do something, then we’d have to support them. Your boss is scaring them. You know it brings back a lot of memories: the communist menace, Russian adventurism.
Lavrov: John, that was over 20 years ago. We’re capitalists now. Speaking of which, thanks for talking to Cameron. The oligarchs and mob bosses are really on our backs about making sure they have access to their cash in London.
Kerry: My pleasure. Tell them not to worry. So what are you doing for dinner tonight?
Lavrov: Not sure.
Kerry: I heard about this great new Italian place in Chelsea.
Kerry: Yeah, that’s the place. I hear their tiramisu is fantastic.
Lavrov: It is. So where do you want to meet next time?
Kerry: Wanna do Geneva again?
Lavrov: We just did Geneva.
Kerry: Right. How about Berlin?
Lavrov: And spend more time with Angela? No, thanks. How about Istanbul? I know this little place that serves the best baklava.
Kerry: Sounds good. OK, the press is waiting. What are we going tell them?
Lavrov: Shall we go with the usual “constructive dialogue”?
Kerry: Didn’t we use that last week?
Lavrov: No, I think we went with “frank exchange of views.”
Kerry: You’re right. Sorry. It’s the jet lag. OK, then. Game face on?
Lavrov: Let’s do it.
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