Christopher Buckley's books are fun to read. They have little content that is of any socially redeeming value. However, it's amazing how much humor and satire he manages to pack into such a small space. It is my impression that every sentence in this book is intended to be humorous or ironic and perhaps sarcastic in a political sense. When I encounter a sentence that isn't funny I just assume that it's a situation where I'm too naive (i.e. clueless) to catch on.
The issue in this book is Sino-American relations. The main character named Bird is a Washington DC lobbyist given the assignment to stir up anti-Chinese sentiment. He's secretly being paid by a military contractor that hopes increased fear and anger directed at China will increase their sales of military hardware. In pursuit of this goal Bird solicits assistance from a think tank with the descriptive name, Institute for Continuing Conflict, whose motto is "Taking the pre out of preemptive." The health of the Dalai Lama becomes an issue, the spies are busy snooping, and the hackers are messing with internet traffic. Then there's the Civil War reenactors who don't know how to aim their cannons. This all in the context of the USA being in hock up to their eyeballs to the Chinese. (Who else has the money to buy all those government bonds?) And though it's never explicitly stated, it's clearly inferred by the end of the book that the incarnated soul of the Dalai Lama (after his death) has taken the possession of Bird's soul. Let's just say that it results in a personality change.
So there's lots going on in the book, and presumably national relations live on happily ever after.