Friday, February 24, 2006

Due Diligence

Syriana was muddled, no doubt. But there was one great line in it that hit me. It was uttered by the young lawyer (Jeffrey Wright) who was looking for another fall guy to settle the DoJ investigation of the oil company merger. When asked what he wanted and he indicated another, higher level patsy, (paraphrasing a bit) he said,
We're not interested in due diligence. We are interested in the appearance of due diligence.
It was a crystallising statement, a prism by which to view the machinations of this real world. And, in all likelihood, it is entirely accurate. At least it seems like it could be when you're as cynical as I am.

With that in mind, what can one say when hearing of the news that DPW, in concert with the White House, has agreed to delay the port deal until further notice?

Well, well, well ....

This may not be the complete appeasement I had imagined, but it is an initial first step:
A United Arab Emirates company offered Thursday to delay part of its $6.8 billion takeover of most operations at six U.S. ports to give the Bush administration more time to convince skeptical lawmakers the deal poses no security risks.

Under the offer coordinated with the White House, Dubai Ports World said it will agree not to exercise control or influence the management over U.S. ports pending further talks with the Bush administration and Congress. It did not indicate how long it will wait for these discussions to take place.
No, I don't imagine anyone knows how long the deal will wait, though I expect they have a rough idea. Something to do with news cycles.

This compromise, which I had not considered before, might actually play out as a win-win for both Congress and the White House. Each will engage in negotiations, tender suggestions and appear to seriously consider the issue, fully congnizant of the concerns over national security. This will be trumpeted loudly.

I'm not quite sure what will come of this. If I had to guess -- and I do -- I'd say, at this point, the deal will now go through. But only after some time, as the White House engages the good senators and representatives and the various howling organs in the media have calmed down. Perhaps another distractive "scandal" will get tossed out, something for the gnashing teeth to chew on. Meanwhile, Congress looks like it got the White House to back down, the White House looks engaging and ... the deal is closed after an appearance of due diligence by all sides.

Nice move.


Blogger reality-based educator said...

While I figured the news of the deal delay would kill the ports story by the time the Sunday talk shows are done, the Wash Times story today that points out DHS head Michael Chertoff was also ignorant about the deal (along w/ Treasury Sec Snow and Preznit Bush) may keep the story alive for awhile.

Think about it. Part of Chertoff's job is to take care of port seccurity and the guy doesn't even know about the ports deal until the story breaks in the press.

Not good for Chertoff and not good for the administration.

I think there might still be a few more shoes dropping in this story before it goes away.

11:53 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Yeah, it can easily be expected that there is much more to this. But it will be interesting to see how the media treats it. Will it disappear, be cast to the back burner, what? It most assuredly will not be front and center for long.

3:33 PM  

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