Elrond’s Council in 21st Century America: a meditation on contemporary attitudes and foreign policy

Elrond: And that is the story of the ring. It remains for us to decide how to act. Ring bearer, please step forward.


Elrond: Frodo!

More silence… Chamber doors open and Frodo comes forward.

Frodo: Friends, please forgive my absence but I was feeling stressed out and had to smoke.

Elrond: That was wise of you. The latest research out of Rivendell shows that smoking is great for you. It makes one feel good, creates neural pathways, and even cures cancer.

Do you have the ring?

Frodo: Let me check… Yup.

Boromir strides to the center.

Boromir: The appearance of this ring is most unwelcome, I can say on the part of the men of Gondor, it being quite plainly an evil device that will move us astray.

Long have my people toiled to bring Gondor to a state of development and affluence. But that is now at risk.

Friends, our trade with Mordor is booming. It is scarcely believable the incredibly low prices Mordor charges us to buy goods from swords to gates and grain. We need their bargain basement prices. If our Mordor trade took a sudden hit it could do tremendous damage to Gondor’s GDP or even cause a temporary recession.

Hear me now! This ring will greatly unsettle the peace. Sauron desires this ring above all else and he will become most incensed when he learns we have the ring in our possession. Assuredly our friendly trade could no longer continue. Tensions will rise. Trade will suffer. Poverty will hit us hard and especially against our poorest peasants. Is this what you desire?

No! Better to have never found this treacherous device, say I. Hide it! Cast it into the ocean! Say no more of it!

Legalos, stirred, rises and interjects.

Legalos: You know not of what you speak, friend. This is the One Ring. One does not merely throw it down the ocean.

Though it may concern you not, my elves in the Mirkwood Forest long languish being mired in poverty, trapped in unfavorable terrain.

Give me the ring.

Frodo interrupts.

Frodo: When will this meeting be over?

Legalos: Give us the ring and let us benefit from this mighty gift.

We should display it, use it, rent it out. There will be nothing like it in all Middle Earth. We will have clients come silver in hand, be it the orcs of Morder to the hobbits of the Shire, to try it out.

I promise you, we will take care to guard it safely. It will be locked up in room under guard. Further, we will submit to total transparency. Inspectors from the races of dwarves, men, elves and Mordor, can monitor our activity.

Gimli: Friends, you are being shortsighted in meditating on the One Ring’s future.

Hide it? Display it as a trinket? The One Ring is already distorting your minds with its devilries.

Instead the course we must take is one whereby we use the One Ring to maximize our earnings. Let us squeeze every possible gold coin from it.

We will use the ring in the mines of Moria. Us dwarves, with this new power, shall finally tame the mines and bring up gold like you have never seen before.

I myself will put this ring on and descend into the pits of Middle Earth to defeat the Balrog and whatever other dark creatures may lurk there. We can thence open up the lower mines and bring mithril of price unsurpassed to the world.

Frodo, you have the ring, just name your price. I will give you more gold for it than everyone else combined.

The free market is always right. I will pay the highest price and allocate this resource in the wisest fashion generating the most gold.

Gandalf: Is gold the only thing that matters to you? What of the Dark Lord’s wrath? It will be terrible.

We must tred cautiously here. Sauron will use all his power to get the ring back. This could lead to war.

But why give Sauron an excuse for war, ask I. Isn’t that exactly what he has been looking for, a pretext for war? This would be it.

Never forget, this is his ring. He has always been its master. Frodo, I know you meant no harm, but you have stolen from him. His fury against you will be tremendous.

I think I can convince him to let your provocative aggression pass but we must give him the ring not tarrying any longer.

For too long have we been fighting wars, dying in vain, and for what? So some silly men can seek out ‘glory’? And have we been blameless this whole time? Hardly! Gondor has taken numerous provocative actions fortifying their borders that are so close to Mordor and maintaining knights and swordsmen.

Really, Sauron isn’t half bad. Sauroman understands him. The idea that he is a ‘Dark Lord’ is nothing more than propaganda from the bloodthirsty men of Gondor who must become civilized and peace loving.

How can anyone blame the orcs for attacking us when they are oppressed and suffer poverty? Naturally they will act thusly as long as we demonize them. What orcs need is simple understanding and compassion and they will return it tenfold.

The time has come to make peace with Mordor. After this great gift, Sauron’s appreciation will overwhelm any anger he may have felt against us. The time of man’s harmony with the Dark Lord is at hand.

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