Licensed to negotiate: a 007 for the new global era

Bond battles a shadowy figure known only as ‘Tony Clement,’ then beds a willowy lobbyist

a 007 for the new global era

“Many critics poured cold water on ‘Quantum of Solace,’ complaining that filmmakers strayed too far from the franchise’s signature story elements. The movie depicts a bitter and emotional 007 seeking revenge for the death of a lover. Assisted by a Russian-Bolivian agent (Olga Kurylenko), he stops a criminal (Mathieu Amalric) from taking control of a country’s water supply.”

—New York Times

Dear Colleagues:

Just a quick note to update you all on our work with the Bond franchise. I’ve just returned from lunch with Mitch and Murray and I can tell you, they are very happy with the way this new Bond is going! Thanks to all of your hard work, we have a new, tough, no-nonsense Bond who’s ready for the grittier, more realistic stories audiences demand in these worrying times. Where do we go from here? Onward! Forward! Upward! That’s where. No looking back, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is not your dad’s James Bond any more.

With Quantum of Solace we showed we can turn an issue as complex as Bolivian water privatization into a sexy, fast-paced adventure for Agent 007. We don’t need underwater crime-lord headquarters or orbiting laser fortresses to hold the attention of today’s sophisticated audiences. Daniel Craig is long past having to prove his ability to handle the most subtle public-policy challenges. And get a load of those pecs! Also: despite a title some lowbrow critics found “difficult,” Quantum of Solace sold boatloads of tickets.

So what’s next? Here are plot sketches for the next few Bond movies. I don’t have to remind you this information is Top Secret—and Mitch and Murray have a licence to kill!

1. On Her Majesty’s Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Bond travels to Canada where he has the devil’s own time getting an appointment with a specialist to treat M’s back pains. Our hero is astonished to learn that the Harper government’s health-care wait times guarantee was never implemented after the 2006 election and that the relevant minister, a shadowy figure known only as “Tony Clement,” was promoted after the next election. Bond tracks Clement to Washington where the minister discusses a bailout for the automobile industry. In a subplot, the bitter and emotional 007 pauses from seeking revenge for Vesper’s murder long enough to bed a willowy lobbyist for the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.

2. From Brussels with Love: Bond tracks a contract killer to the Belgian capital, where he gets caught up in an argument about European Union rules of origin for imports. When Bond discovers his application for Binding Origin Information is lacking the requisite composition of the goods and any methods of examination used to determine this and their ex-works price, as necessary, he beds a scheduling assistant for the Latvian head of mission to NATO and shoots a waiter who mocks him for confusing the Belgian national anthem with La Marseillaise.

3. The World is Not Enough, Especially the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Bits: During a break from the foundering Doha trade talks, Bond beds a willowy Belgian waitress and gets into an argument with M, who wants to curtail rampant abuses that allow trade-restrictive anti-dumping remedies to punish normal import competition. A car chase follows, and Bond breaks up a plot by the Canadian delegation to punt on supply management. A willowy Bloc Québécois agriculture researcher beds him in gratitude. He remains bitter and emotional.

4. A View to a BlackBerry Storm: On his way into a Starbucks in Hanover, Md., for a vente latte, Bond overhears two young Democratic congressional aides comparing the features of their new PDAs. “I like mine because it has the clickable touch screen, so you really feel it when you type something,” one says. “Mine’s got 3G, and when I look up a place on Google Maps these giant cartoon push-pins drop onto the map,” the other says. “It’s wicked.” Bond kills them both with a coffee stir stick.

5. Arctopussy: On a training exchange with the Danish Secret Service (motto: “Spying Takes a Lot Out of You: Eat Some Herring”), Bond becomes embroiled in the debate with Canada, Norway, Russia and the United States over the future of Hans Island. During particularly delicate negotiations over plans to strengthen existing measures and to develop new measures to improve the safety of maritime navigation and prevent or reduce the risk of ship-based pollution in the Arctic Ocean, Bond runs out of hard disk space to save a Microsoft Excel chart. A willowy Norwegian tech-support staffer is no help at all. “Sorry, bud. Vista sucks.”

6. A Quantum of Greenhouse-Gas Emission: Bond travels with Stéphane Dion and Arnold Schwarzenegger to a conference on carbon cap-and-trade mechanisms. “The scale, costs and institutional arrangements required to create and run them generally preclude regional natural resource management (NRM) groups from using them directly as an NRM policy tool,” Bond tells a willowy database management specialist from Gujarat. There is a car chase. Bond remains bitter and emotional.

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