It was the most unusual summit meeting in either fact or fiction. It’s fiction, but you’re allowed to wonder if fact would have been much different.

A philanthropist somewhere who loves history arranged for the handful of surviving Nazi German and Imperial Japanese generals from World War II to travel first-class, complete with care-givers and medical equipment, to a mini-convention in the conference room of an upscale nursing home near Tokyo to reminisce. There were just enough of them left with just enough mental marbles left to make it the most fascinating meeting that never happened.

“We did it all wrong,” said the welcoming Japanese general. “Bombing the Americans on a Sunday morning at Pearl Harbor while our two governments were in the middle of negotiations just got them angry; furious. One day earlier America was an isolationist nation. After the attack, America united. Millions of young men enlisted. Everybody in America wanted to fight. Their industrial war production soared to frightful proportions.

“All of our pilots and sailors on our attack carriers celebrated like mad. They were idiots. The only sane one was Admiral Yamamoto, educated in America, who, after we’d destroyed the American fleet, said, ‘I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant.’

“We continued to beat the Americans for about half a year. Then they invaded Guadalcanal, sank four of our aircraft carriers at Midway and from there it was downhill all the way to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

“You’re right,” replied a German general. “We were hopeful you Japanese would take America’s mind off Europe entirely. Then that maniac, Hitler, out of nowhere declared war on America four days after Pearl Harbor. America’s military aid to Britain and Russia plus their gathering armed forces sealed our doom.”

The biggest applause went to the Japanese general who said, “Nobody can do a better job of beating America than the Americans themselves are doing right now.” Then things zoomed out of control. Germans and Japanese commenting in rapid succession, “Senator John McCain himself said the other day that whenever anybody important mentions ‘Social Security’ and ‘change’ in the same sentence, the phones light up and nobody can get through.” “American seniors are terrified!” “ALL Americans are terrified! Americans aren’t afraid of Germans and Japanese and Russians. They’re afraid of unemployment and gasoline prices and recession.”

“Look what Americans are teaching us! When Obama threatened that Social Security checks might not be able to go out if the debt ceiling weren’t raised, the same Americans who fearlessly stormed our beaches at Normandy and elsewhere seemed too frightened to stretch out on a beach towel in Denmark.” “Right! And Senator McConnell immediately proposed the Republicans give Obama the borrowing powers he wants with a warning that he’d be blamed if anything went wrong. At least, that’s what it looked like in the German translation.”

“Exactly! And Americans who’d never heard of Moody and couldn’t really tell you what a bond-rating service was, were suddenly hiding under beds when Moody said it was considering lowering their rating of American bonds?” “That reminds me. Jane’s is to the military what Moody is to finance. Why didn’t we bribe or threaten or try to find some way to get Jane’s to consider lowering their rating of America’s fitness to fight in 1941? A frightened American under a bed would have helped our cause more than a furious American bayoneting our boys in the Pacific!”

“Great point! Why didn’t we let the Americans know how helpless they were? Why was it that only 10-year-old boys in North Carolina knew that during 1940 war games at Fort Bragg, half the American troops were armed with broomsticks and over half of the military vehicles were Model-T Fords with the letters ‘T-A-N-K’ white-washed onto both sides? We had the propaganda power to make sure EVERY American knew that, but our propagandists were too busy talking about Jewish bankers and the evils of the British Empire.”

“Jawohl! America’s a free country. We could have set up phony front groups with Washington offices and names like, ‘Defense Readiness Evaluation Committee’ and duped some ex-congressman or a prestige-hungry academic to put authentic reports on how dismally unprepared America was into the hands of every congressman, senator and newspaperman. Instead, we let our American admirers, with their clownish imitation storm-trooper uniforms, stage pro-Nazi rallies in Madison Square Garden, with swastikas and American flags all over the place. Columnist Walter Winchell fixed them pretty good. He wrote ‘There were more American flags than Americans’!”

“I think we agree, comrades, that the weapon that works best against America isn’t the hit, but the threat.” “Why didn’t we just threaten war if America didn’t lay off on those miserable sanctions because of what we Japanese were doing in China?” “Right! And why didn’t we just threaten America with war unless they quit aiding the British?”

“All right, gentlemen,” said the chairman, banging his gavel. “This has been an interesting and worthwhile exchange.

“And if we ever get another crack at America, just remember.


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