December 12, 2003

#138:, The door is open...

P. Krugman

A Deliberate Debacle (12/12/03) by Paul Krugman is one of those columns written strictly for the coastal elites. These are the same folks who are going be on the losing end of a 40 to 10 states-carried ratio in the next presidential election. At issue is what Krugman considers the contretemps of sending James Baker off to negotiate Iraqi debt forgiveness with our estranged allies while simultaneously excluding those allies from bidding on lucrative Iraqi reconstruction contracts. Even worse, according to Krugman, the administration did so "with highly offensive language." He sees this as an effort by administration hawks to sabotage reconciliation with our anti-war allies.

The quote by President Bush that has the Krugman elites so upset is this: "It's very simple. Our people risk their lives. . . . Friendly coalition folks risk their lives. . . . The contracting is going to reflect that."

Quelle horror!

By contrast consider an alternative statement from Bush that might have pleased Krugman. "Let's let bygones be bygones. Sure the French, Germans, Russians and Chinese opposed us on the war to protect their vested economic interests in the Hussein regime, but now that he's gone we have to work together to rebuild Iraq. Even the large portion of the reconstruction costs being paid for by US taxpayers will be open to full international bidding. Fair's fair!"

Is there anyone who would buy that?

Actually this is one of those issues where a red state/blue state perspective is necessary for true understanding. There are many people in this country outside of NY, NJ, MA and CA who don't give a rat's ass whether the French, et. al., are offended. They see perfect logic in limiting contracts to coalition countries. As to debt forgiveness´┐Żthe door is open. It's up to the "estranged allies" to get back on our good side!

It's called hardball, PK.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at December 12, 2003 6:13 PM
Weblog by John Weidner