Cabbage Soup

A spokesman for the Chinese government warned the United States that arming the South Koreans and he Japanese with nukes would mean war. I had lunch today with my friend the Chinese Attaché, and he ordered cabbage soup for both of us. “Cabbage soup,” he said with some enthusiasm. “Shrimp, pork, ginger, cellophane noodles. One of my favorites.” I said, “No cabbage?” and he said, “Of course there’s cabbage. That’s why we Chinese call it cabbage soup. The trouble with you Americans is you expect everything to be on the label, but we Chinese prefer subtlety. For instance,” he said, ”you get upset when we say arming South Korea and Japan with nukes is unacceptable, but you don’t understand that the word unacceptable is quite subtle, as subtle as cabbage soup. Unacceptable can mean anything between complete acceptance and war. Now which do you think we prefer?” I finished my cabbage soup, looked at my smiling friend, and said, “Good soup.”

Inscrutable it has been said
A nation of sly foxes
Where diplomatic words are stored
In boxes within boxes
And finding in which box is held
True meaning of the matter
Means that the NSA has files
Of only idle chatter
If Tillerson can find which box
The Chinese now are using
He’ll know if China’s on our side
Or Pyongyang’s nukes excusing
In any case we’ll know in time
To China time is endless
Like ginger flavored cabbage soup
They will not end up friendless

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