Saturday, September 15, 2007

Your Weekly Krugman

Compliments of Norwegianity is this week's Paul Krugman column. Mr. Krugman says

Back in January, announcing his plan to send more troops to Iraq, President Bush declared that “America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.”

Near the top of his list was the promise that “to give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.”

There was a reason he placed such importance on oil: oil is pretty much the only thing Iraq has going for it. Two-thirds of Iraq’s G.D.P. and almost all its government revenue come from the oil sector. Without an agreed system for sharing oil revenues, there is no Iraq, just a collection of armed gangs fighting for control of resources.

Well, the legislation Mr. Bush promised never materialized, and on Wednesday attempts to arrive at a compromise oil law collapsed.

So, no oil law. Hm-m-m-m, whatever will hold Iraq, as a nation, together ?

Certainly not this:
... last week a Kurdish Web site announced that the provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, and that seems to have been the last straw.

Maybe the "handwriting is on the wall" readable by those skilled at reading tea leaves or armed with other arcane knowledge.
No, what’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January — won’t get its act together. Indeed, he’s effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.

The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration — maybe even Mr. Bush himself — know this, too.

Mr. Hunt contributed $35 million towards GeeDubya's new library at Southern Methodist University and has been a large dollar contributer to Republican and Gee Dubya's campaigns. Also, the president appointed Mr. Hunt to the Federal Intelligence Advisory Board, where he is privy to Top Secret information.

Shouldn't Congress be investigating something about how a highly placed official is making millions undercutting U.S. policy?

Also, Maha has an excellent post on this.

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