The Last Picture Show

The pomp and circumstance were once again glittering, the crowds excitable, the television and press coverage exhaustive. But it was all a bit out of proportion.

The electricity generated at past superpower summits by the prospect of mortal enemies edging toward peace was blessedly missing. This time the meetings were between two world leaders whose nations are fully at peace but have conflicting interests and needs. The grand gesture was replaced by haggling over money and politics.

Even the word summit is a questionable description of where the two leaders stood. The peaks they each dominate are much lower now, and...

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