All is calm in the magical kingdom of NATO. Children frolic in the sun. Young lovers picnic on the beach. Old Jewish men play chess in the park. Everybody is happy, and everybody loves one another. Yet beneath this veneer of most sublime bliss, there lies a hidden danger.

Amidst chirping birds and springtime winds, the United Kingdom and the Low Countries signed the Brussels Treaty in March 1948. Suddenly, a new neighbour emerged from the shadows.

"Hello! My name is France! Can I be on your team?"

"Well, I don't see why not!" said United Kingdom, pleased to have more happy friends. But, after a little calculation, United Kingdom grew concerned. "One minute, fine chap. I don't believe I've ever heard of a 'France' before. Do I know you?"

Following a nervous titter and a slight pause, the mysterious stranger replied. "Oh of course! You see, we live right here on the other side of the channel! We've been around for a few thousand years, many of which have been spent at war with you. We're all Gauls and Basques and Germanic peoples and such, really quite friendly if you're not a tourist. I think we're on our fourth constitution since becoming a republic. Um, you may have heard about us in the news recently... we bravely fought the Nazis and whatnot. So, we've decided it's about time we were on the same side for good, fighting the Reds in World War III and what have you. Whaddya say, old chum?"

The United Kingdom responded agreeably. "Alright, then. Still not ringing a bell, but I think that can be overlooked for perhaps large amounts of cheese and wine. My tummy is hungry!"

"Hmmmm..." thought France aloud. "Allow me to consult someone about this."

France retreated into a corner, and Belgium could swear he heard someone speaking Russian over France's headset. But perhaps it was just the children at glorious play on the swing set just outside the window, or the mating calls of the beautiful songbirds found everywhere in the Allied nations.

After just a few moments, France returned to the table. "Gentlemen, I believe we have a deal," he said with a demented smile. Just that second, lightning struck a tree just outside the meeting hall, scaring the happy, good, Western-born children away. The rent sky unleashed a torrent upon Brussels.

"That's odd," said the Netherlands. "I don't ever recall it ever raining in an Allied country before."

"Must be that El Nino", concluded the United Kingdom.

France signed its name on the line.

............

Fifty-three years later...

The Brussels Treaty powers soon realized that their union was worthless without the support of the United States. So NATO was formed in 1949.

During the next fifty years, France laid low, occasionally starting unwinnable wars in Southeast Asia, violating treaties, supporting terrorism, detonating nuclear weapons, and sinking boats operated by environmental groups. The world paid very little attention. Even Germany came to feel apathy toward her western neighbour. Love and peace and happiness became universal, for the world was finally rid of the Red Menace. Well, except for some far-away countries no one cares about.

Yet, on this day, legions of COMMUNIST ALIEN TROOPS are amassing just inside France's borders, preparing to unleash their barrage of extraterrestrial, pinko aggression upon an unsuspecting NATO. Living in the sewers of the land now known as France are 30 billion mutant aliens, and every one of them is dedicated to the cause of dismantling the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from within. They have been controlling the minds of the populace of that nation for 53 years, when they first came to Earth and fabricated the idea of France from their fertile intergalactic imaginations.

Slowly, the sewer grates of France creak open.

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