Thursday, May 19, 2011

with marchenko, everybody wins!

that alleged rapist dude resigned, which means we need a new head honcho for the IMF. exciting!

the position has always been held by a european, which is why the europeans think the new honcho should be a european.but for that same reason, a lot of non-europeans think new honcho should be a non-european. the europeans reply by noting that their continent is all screwed up with that debt crisis they made, so there should be a european honcho because only a european knows how to bail out a failing european economy. the non-europeans counter sarcastically, "yeah, that's why the IMF was led by an argentinian in the 1990s."

and so we're at a stalemate. or are we? surely there's a compromise. maybe both sides can get what they want. there are countries out there that are both european and non-european at the same time. several, in fact. and someone from one of them is already being floated as a possible successor to alleged rapist dude! yes, the ex-soviet states are backing grigory marchenko, current head of kazakhstan's central bank. and being from kazakhstan, he can claim to be both european and not-european. it's like a special national superpower.

"but wait, kazakhstan is in europe?" you ask. yes, part of it is. check out this map:

see that blue bit in the upper left? (the one with all the arrows pointing at it?) that part is in geographic europe. here's the deal:

there are a lot of definitions of "europe", mostly because it's not really a continent. in reality it's just the far western bit of the asian land mass that is the home to people who wanted to pretend they were different from those savages in the rest of asia. because they drew the maps and labeled the continents, they got their europe. after using the arbitrary label system for a while, they were eventually pinned down and forced to make up a definition of the purported continent that related to geographic landmarks. and so they made the eastern border of europe to be first the ural mountains, and then the ural river as you go south and the mountains peter out, until the river dumps into the caspian sea. everything east of the ural mountains and ural river is asia and everything west of it is europe. the ural river flows south from the ural mountains in russia and then cuts through the northwest corner of kazakhstan before it reaches the caspian sea at atyrau. which means that bit of kazakhstan, comprised of about half of west kazakhstan oblast and half of atyrau oblast, is by definition in europe. and that means that kazakhstan is a european country. so clearly everyone will be happy with marchenko, right?

(tune in for our next exciting episode where i show that christine lagarde is really south american)