Roll the clock back to the late fall of 2001 and remember all the kooky, crazy schemes that everyone knew al-Qaida was getting ready to unleash; bulk purchases of personal electronics, shady characters trying to learn crop dusting, swarthy men talking about weddings while standing outside of skyscrapers . . . we’ve got to do something man, or we’re all doomed!!!
That’s the danger of dealing with people who know a lot about a little bit. They’re not bad people and they’re certainly very smart in their wheel-house, but g-d they’re annoying when they start thinking with half their brains and all their hearts.
Such it is with the DP World story. Real experts on slivers of the deal discount valid and mitigating factors outside their areas of expertise, while “experts” tell us that they just know that this all stinks to high heaven because Dubai is full of swarthy men and the country has a spotty record. Newsflash: Everyone helping us has a spotty record.
To an extent this is all unavoidable because we’re talking about DC, and if an insufficient amount of scandal-fodder isn’t available, actual governing might have to take place. So much easier to burn daylight in front of a camera railing about one half-baked theory or another while pretending to know what the heck you are talking about.
What is needed here is recognition of the realities of; the globalized world (including tax and financial issues that foreign firms don’t have), the complicated matrix that is homeland security, and the amazingly brief and superficial amount of attention paid to all aspects of same. 30-day CFIUS review? Knickerbocker, please.
People in the business often stand in awe of external thinkers of big thoughts because let’s face it: That’s their job. They’re not filling out travel vouchers or going to sensitivity training, doing their work AND the work of their less-capable colleagues, spending half the work day in traffic trying to get to/back from an inter-agency meeting, or interrupting their trains of thought with whatever new bean-counting exercise the appointee-of-the-month has decided to foist upon the masses.
How many Barnett-caliber thoughts could an internal analyst with a few months peace and quite churn out? That’s hard to say because as things are configured now it’ll never happen. No one thinks to cut out or at least reduce the administrivia that consumes so much valuable daylight. Jean Larteguy should have written about the IC, not the army.
So here we stand: Listening to the ill-informed trying to educate the clueless about the complex. Intelligence failure or “intelligence” failure? I wonder . . .