The Smart Money

Paul Krugman makes a good point about the Hunt Oil deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government that scuttled efforts at a forging a compromise oil law in the Iraqi parliament:

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.

Hunt's policy position, in this case, would be his role on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. And, indeed, FIAB aside, it's oil company executives who really have strong incentives to acquire rigorous intelligence about political developments in the Persian Gulf untainted by wishful thinking or political considerations. If Hunt Oil thinks the Iraqi state will be dysfunctional long enough to make it worth signing not-really-legal-in-Iraq teals with the Kurdistan government, then there's reason to think they know what they're talking about.

Photo by Flickr user Anthea used under a Creative Commons license