Devoted fans of the 1990s TV series "Star Trek: Voyager" may have noticed a familiar face on their televisions last week. One of the nonspeaking extras from season two was in Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday night, he and his wife had dinner at the White House with President Bush. On Wednesday, he addressed a joint session of Congress from the same podium President Bush uses for the State of the Union address.
Trekkie's name is Abdullah. He'd probably prefer that you call him King Abdullah, or Your Majesty King Abdullah II. I like to call him Trekkie.
King Trekkie is the king of Jordan. Jordan is wedged between Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel. It's roughly the size of Indiana and takes its name from the Jordan River (of biblical fame).
Trekkie was born in 1962 in Amman, Jordan. According to his official website, he is the "43rd generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad" which is the equivalent of great-grandson if you said "great" 41 times. Neat.
Trekkie's father was the late King Hussein and his mother was an English woman. Her real name was Antoinette Avril Gardiner, but after she married Hussein, she was called Queen Muna.
King Hussein did not seemingly intend for Trekkie to become king. Hussein didn't declare Trekkie his official heir apparent until just a few days before his death. The first 37 years of his life were spent being a rich, feckless prince with a kick-ass toy collection. Here's how the British celeb magazine Hello! describes him:
"A man of action, Abdullah is a scuba diving and automobile racing fan – he's a former Jordanian National Rally Racing Champion – plus a qualified frogman, pilot and freefall parachutist. He's also a keen collector of ancient weapons and armaments."
Trekkie actually spent so much time dicking around England that he speaks with a posh English accent. He's like Jordan's Madonna, but worse. At least Madonna speaks her native tongue well. By all accounts, Trekkie speaks his country's native Arabic with an accent that makes him sound like a foreigner.
Trekkie is married to an ethnic Palestinian named Rania. Rania went on "Oprah" last year and said that Trekkie loves to barbecue. She also gave an interview to India's Delhi Times newspaper in December where she evoked the spirit of Kermit the Frog by declaring that "It's not easy being a queen."
Trekkie is one of those Middle East leaders that the U.S. government and the news media call a "moderate." Moderate is an exceptionally vague word, but it's meant to imply goodness, decency and level-headedness. In fact, when the United States calls a Muslim leader a "moderate," that means he's our friend. Jordan is a dictatorship. The only thing moderate about it is that it's moderately less fascist than its neighbors Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt.
Trekkie's visit to the United States is the most recent in a series of high-level back-and-forthing between the United States and Jordan. Trekkie and Dubya are talking so much these days because they're desperately trying to figure out a way to turn Iraq into a working country again. Trekkie is concerned that chaos in Iraq will lead to war throughout the Middle East.
Trekkie is working with Dubya to halt the formation of what Trekkie calls the "Shiite Crescent". The Shiite Crescent is a stretch of land from Iran to Lebanon populated by Shiite Muslims. If Shiites get too much power, Trekkie warns, U.S. interests in the Middle East will be damaged. By U.S. interests, Trekkie means Israel and oil.
Trekkie's keenest interest is, naturally, his own job. U.S. policy in Iraq and the Bush administration's uncritical support of Israel has helped radicalize his people. Trekkie implored Congress to pressure Israel into helping relieve the suffering of Palestinian people. A workable peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians will probably draw energy and support away from the Islamist radicals who want to see Trekkie's head on a stick.
Congress did not react warmly to Trekkie's requests. Expect Trekkie to seek solace on the back of his new Alabama-made Hellcat motorcycle. The $70,000 bike was Trekkie's 45th birthday gift to himself.
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