In a bold and unexpected stroke of unilateral diplomacy, President Barack Obama has ceded Alaska back to Russia, ending over 140 years of American possession of the territory and 50 years of Alaskan statehood.
This morning, the President explained his decision:
Today marks a turning point in America’s relationship with the world. To demonstrate our good faith and our desire to turn the page on the last eight years, we are returning Alaska to its rightful place– with our allies in Russia.
This act illustrates our nation’s ability to understand our errors and transgressions, and take the steps to redress them. Indeed, the state of Alaska is troublingly evocative of the senseless, imperialistic landgrab that mars our collective history. America’s errand in the “great land” of the North has ended– with dignity, and a new spirit of internationalism.
Most recently, Alaska has been the provenance of some of Americaâ€™s more uncouth elements– the kind of folksy populism and facile nationalism that alienates our peers in the international community. The cession of Alaska to our friends in Russia symbolizes a rejection of such provincialism.
Opinion appears to be split between party lines, with the announcement garnering acclaim from Democrats and resigned ambivalence from Republicans.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) remarked,
This is the kind of preemptive action we can believe in. Or change or something… What the hell were we doing all the way up there anyway?
House minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) responded,
Can we give them California, too?