WASHINGTON, DC—Years of strained U.S.-Chad relations finally came to an end Monday, when President Clinton announced that the U.S. is severing formal diplomatic ties with Chad Ratliff, a 26-year-old Greensboro, NC, cab driver.
"The decision to break off relations with Chad was a difficult one," Clinton said. "In general, Chad is a good guy. He will help you move, let you borrow his VCR, or whatever. But when he's had a few, you just wish you'd never met him."
The final blow came last Saturday, when the U.S. government and Chad went to a Greensboro-area Bennigan's restaurant to watch an NCAA tournament basketball game. According to Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña, by the game's fourth quarter, Chad had consumed "at least seven Bud Ices" and was "bombed nearly to the point of incoherence."
Chad's late-evening attempts to flirt with the table's waitress, Peña said, were even more embarrassing. "Chad's constant leering and drunken come-ons toward our server, who was wearing a conspicuous engagement ring, upset everyone in attendance," he said.
"America expects a higher standard of conduct from its allies–domestic as well as foreign," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said of the incident. "Chad was just acting completely braindead. [U.S. Senate majority leader] Trent [Lott] had to drive him home that night, then pick him up and drive him back to Bennigan's the next day so he could get his car, causing Trent to miss a key Medicare-reform vote. It's just more trouble than it's worth to be friends with Chad."
With relations severed, the U.S. will no longer offer Chad military or economic aid in the event of a crisis.
"Last week, when Chad lost his wallet for the third time in two weeks, I approved his request for an emergency appropriation of $4 so that he could do his laundry," Clinton said. "This will not happen again."
"Over the years, the U.S. has allocated a great deal of federal assistance to Chad, ranging from money for cigarettes to rides to the mall," Clinton added. "But this is just nuts."
The incident marks the most severe diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and one of its citizens since 1991, when Congress rescinded Brooklyn, NY, resident Philippe Duclaude's Most-Favored Haitian status.
While most Americans are disappointed to have lost an ally, an ABC News poll indicates that less than one percent of U.S. citizens are concerned that worsening relations between the U.S. and Chad could result in war.
"America would win decisively in a war with Chad," said military expert Al Holt. "We could pretty much just send one guy to go to Chad's house and shoot him. The way he puts 'em back, he'd hardly put up much of a fight. And if we made sure the invasion was after 10 p.m., he'd probably be half in the bag already and pose no serious threat."
When asked for comment, Chad told reporters he is strongly considering cutting down on his drinking. "Dude, I was still drunk when I got up Sunday," he conceded. "I gotta cut that shit out."