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The New Yorker December 26, 1983

The New Yorker December 26 , 1983

Say good night, Andorra

For seven hundred years now, we have been hearing these pretty lies about Andorra: it has picture-prefect mountains, it was neutral in the war (thanks a lot), it has only one road, Well, get real! Those supposedly humble shepherds you see everywhere over there — in those sweaters that they don’t wash but just wear until they turn into felt — the so-called “Andorran shepherds” are wearing what underneath? Silk pyjamas ! I myself, when I was over there in the fifties, heard a brashly handsome young “shepherd” remark, “Ha,ha. We know the Americans wear the ordinary kind of pyjamas from Penney’s, with the drawstring. For all their vaunted civil liberties!” These wiseacres can afford swan statues made out of liver pâté for their daughters’ weddings, yet if you ask them a simple question they only say, “Huhh? What!” Where do you suppose they get all their money? Where do they get those silk pyjamas, the fire-engine-red-Citroëns, the state-of-the-art computer games, the “you-name-it-I-can-have-it-here-by-tomorrow-morning” designer bedsheets? What are the fraudulent underpinnings on which this specious bite-sized country really rests? Well, friends of mine at the Pentagon, highly placed military careerists whose anonymity does not conceal their deep-seated concern about dangerous drift factor in world affairs — these good friends say that the bottom line in Andorra is bold-faced smuggling. From Andorra to France. From France to Spain. From Spain to France.. And thence … to the Soviet Union. “Now, wait a minute,” you are saying. “NO way would they dare try this. Do they think we’re blind?” I think you know the answer. I think we all do. More important, by permitting this affront to capitalism to go on, what kind of message are we sending to our enemies behind the Iron Curtain? We are saying to all Communists that we are cowards —“yellow,” as Andy Jackson would have put it. We are saying that we “don’t care” about freedom.

“Well, what of it?” some will say. “Let’s leave them alone anyway.” and then they point out that Andorra is a fairly small country, only eighteen miles across. Can a country the same size as the Dallas-Fort Worth airport really hurt us?

To me, this smacks of the appeasement policies of Neville Chamberlain, who never really understood the Hun. And what about our kids — your kids and mine? What are we going to say a few short years down the line when they ask, “ Dad, were you too self-satisfied, too complacent about your dividends and your Plymouth Duster, to really stand up to Andorra?”

And finally, there are those photographs recently released by the White House, which indicate that there may be Americans in Andorra, skiing. How willing are we to take chances with their lives? Suppose something just “happened” while they were out on the slopes, indulging in healthful, friendly tourism, and when they came back to the base lodge their Volvo was gone — already on its long overland journey to the garage of some fat-cat Party bureaucrat in Leningrad, with a laughing, manicured “shepherd” at the wheel.

We think he has laughed long enough. So does the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. We talked over Andorra with him at his own Dean Martin Celebrity Roast the other evening, and he told us that the so-called “Andorran shepherds” are actually maverick North Koreans, He’s totally with us, by the way, as is Bob Hope. Then luscious Pia Zamora came over in tears and admitted she is actually of Andorran extraction but denied being a maverick Korean. Bob soon cheered her up, and for the rest of the evening we were mulling over strategy and just sort of getting to know each other. —Lynn Caraganis