Is the blacklist a bargaining ploy?

A reader makes what seems like a sensible suggestion: maybe the decision to blacklist German, French, and Russian firms from bidding on Iraqi reconstruction was just a bargaining ploy, designed to induce those governments to do something helpful as a way of getting their companies a share of the pork. That could be right, and the White House press spokesman suggested as much. However, he doesn’t seem to have been in communication with the President, who said the opposite.

And don’t you love Bush’s contemptuous dismissal of international law? The WTO violation here is pretty transparent.

More evidence that astounding incompetence can lead to miserable failure.

Note: If you want to help with the Google-bombing, please note that it’s now “astounding incompetence” rather than “astonishing incompetence.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: