Only the eXile had predicted it, and there were dark whispers that eXile had done more than predict -- that eXile operatives, dark hook-nosed wanderers, had been seen moving about the highways and byways of Russia, intimidating livestock, crippling distilleries, maiming stock certificates and otherwise spreading fear and confusion among the people. Did we merely see the signs of the great crash, or was it our doing--the first step in our plan to wreck the world? We're not saying. But remember what Lenin said: you look for the people who benefited...
However, the eXile is always scrupulously fair. Our plan was never intended to inflict hardship on Russia alone. This was merely our testing ground. Our most stunning victory has been the way we turned the stock market around, turning the paper wealth of the Western upper-middle class into paper, period.
The figures speak for themselves: in the past three years, the American stock market has lost over $7 trillion dollars in value. And every dollar the Dow Jones drops is a dollar's worth of sheer delight for us. Because those investors were betting directly against us. They were the optimists, and we were the pessimists. Every dollar they put into the stock market was a slap in the face for us, another nay-sayer who'd decided to bet that peace and prosperity were here to stay. Well, we showed them. They voted with their bank accounts, and those accounts are now exploring the exciting world of negative integers.
Gold, the preferred currency of paranoiacs and pessimists, is one of the few commodities going up, experiencing a bull market that is leaving the optimists in the dust. The only other stock doing decently now is weapons. Because at the same time eXile was sabotaging the global economy, we were putting an end to world peace, which reared its ugly happy head in the 90s. Most of you probably don't even remember how safe and smug you felt in the mid-90s. Well, that's the price of success: our plan has worked so well that no one even recalls how good things used to be.
Try casting your mind back to 1997. Remember how the world's classic "trouble spots" were going out, one by one? In Northern Ireland, Clinton had managed to schmooze two tribes whose only reason for existing was to hate each other into kissing and making up. The Yugoslav wars were dying down, and the last flare-up was stamped out like wet kindling in the Kosovo campaign. But the scariest thing of all was that the Israeli-Palestine dispute, the Old Faithful of conflicts, was startingto wind down, with the Oslo Accords looking like they really might bring an end to the world's most reliable long-term feud.
We turned that trend right around. Some of the details must remain classified for the present; some of those who helped us in the uphill struggle to ruin the world must remain unknown; but the job has been done. Was it an eXile operative who stood outside Ariel Sharon's bedroom window whispering, "Arik! Go visit the Dome of the Rock on a Muslim holy day! Those Arab dogs are just daring you! They're laughing, saying you don't have the guts! Go now! That'll show'em!" Did a top-secret eXile staffer circulate among the grumbling Palestinian crowds next day as Sharon walked by, to excite the crowd by muttering "Are you gonna let him get away with this? What are ya, chicken -- I mean, pork? Say, ever notice how many rocks there are lying around here? Bet they'd be really good for throwing!"
The truth will have to wait until the end of the Middle Eastern struggle--which is to say, forever. All that can be said for certain is that within hours the West Bank was in flames, 13 Israeli Arabs were dead, and nobody was talking peace any more.
The next step was to bring eXilization home to America. From the start, we kept our eyes on the prize, the homeland. Everything else was just island-hopping. Getting Bush elected was part of the plan, and that part was working out as well as we'd expected. America was getting Godlier, meaner and stupider every day. The stock market was in a nice, steady decline that didn't look like ending anytime soon. But was America miserable enough? Were the Americans really as wretched as we were?