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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Terrorism or Civil War?

Rage and carnage in Iraq ratcheted up this week to a new and awesome level over which there may be no control. The bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samara, a Shi'ite mosque that is over 1,000 years old, 944 A.D., one of the most sacred shrines in Iraq and the region, triggered the vengeful outcry.

On Wednesday, three internal bombs reduced the golden dome and the mosque to rubble. The public reaction was instantaneous. Tens of thousands of Shi'ites wailed throughout Iraq's streets. Evildoers were instantly fingered -- Sunnis. So a torrent of retaliatory strikes by Shi'ites against Sunnis ensued. Sunni mosques were attacked. Across the country, over 100 Iraqis were killed in barely two days, including at least three Sunni clerics. Within hours, Iraq's most revered and influential personage, the 75-year-old Shi'ite, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, himself went on television, something he rarely does, and called for protests, but orderly protests.

Then the civil president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, elected last April by Iraq's parliament, also made a TV appeal. "We are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq's unity. We should all stand hand in hand to prevent the danger of a civil war."

Our U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, also went on television. He pointedly did not blame the Sunnis. He blamed al Qaeda.

ZALMAY KHALILZAD (U.S. ambassador to Iraq): (From videotape.) The terrorists, led by Zarqawi, wish to see Iraq descend into sectarian conflict.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Iraqi politicians have criticized the U.S. for failing to stop the sectarian slaughter. Should the military intervene? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The military can't stop it. The ambassador is trying to stop it by bringing the Sunnis into the government. He's putting pressure on the Shi'as to bring them in, to keep this together. But, John, there are elements in there, certainly the ones that blew up that mosque, that want a civil war. The reprisals by the Shi'as moved them closer to civil war. I think there's a real danger of this. It's hard for me to see how the Americans can put it together.

One thing we've got to do is to get that interior ministry out of the hands of Shi'as, who are using it to run their death squads.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat brings up this point, and that is whether or not the U.S. is a catalyst for slaughter. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq -- we just saw him -- Zalmay Khalilzad lambasted the new Iraq government three days before the bombing of the mosque. He said then that the Iraq department of the interior, as Pat points out, controlled, of course, by Shi'ites, as is the whole government, is operating death squads and secret prisons from within the ministry, the security ministry, the interior ministry, to strike the Sunnis.

Here is what Khalilzad said at a full-blown press conference. Quote: "The ministers, particularly the security ministers, have to be people who are non-sectarian, who are broadly acceptable, who do not represent or have ties to militias. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people to build forces run by people who are sectarian," unquote. Khalilzad is saying that the Shi'ites are killing the Sunnis from inside the equivalent of a Shi'ite FBI. So, hearing this, the Sunnis are retaliating against the Iraq government itself. The question, therefore, is -- I put this to you, Eleanor -- did the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, our ambassador to Iraq, did he provoke the current sectarian rage innocently, which could topple the nation?

MS. CLIFT: We are in the middle of a civil war, and anything can set it off. And basically what the U.S. policy is is trying to engineer more participation by the Sunnis, which is being interpreted by the Shi'ites as taking the side of the Sunnis. And so when the Sunnis attack and the U.S. army stands aside and just lets the fighting continue, it looks as though we're taking sides in the middle of a civil war.

Basically, this is a foretaste of what will happen if we precipitously leave. But it's also happening while we're there, which then begs the question, why are we there? And the violation against the Shi'ite holy place is not something the Shi'ites are going to forget for a good long while. They're going to be settling scores. And there is really hardly any positive role left anymore for the U.S.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The United States appears to be standing aside and letting this situation between sects, the Sunnis and the Shi'as, burn itself out. Is that good strategy?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I'm not sure we're standing aside. Diplomatically, we've been working very hard.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we taking sides?

MR. BLANKLEY: We've been supporting the Sunnis getting into the government. And the ambassador --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But should we put a stop to the fighting?

MR. BLANKLEY: The ambassador's statement was initially an inside-diplomacy game, and it didn't work. So he was compelled to make it a public statement. And I don't think it was a mistake, because he was not able to persuade the Shi'as to open up the governance to non-sectarians. So I don't think the ambassador was to blame. I think it was sort of a desperation move when he went public.

As far as whether we can curtail the violence, I don't have the technical knowledge to know whether we can go into the streets and absolutely stop it at this point. The interesting question -- we are not in a civil war. We may be at the beginning or not. We're not in the middle. You know, there's been anticipation it might come to it, and it might, and this may or may not be a tipping point. But let me make --

MS. CLIFT: It depends on the definition of civil war. MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. Let me make just one point.

It's not the desired path, but it's possible that if the Sunnis become absolutely rejectionist and decide they want to have a civil war, that we may not be an honest broker but might have to ally with the Shi'as and gain the victory that way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The negative of allying with either the Shi'as or the Sunnis is, of course, obvious. You are going to find yourself in the middle of their fighting each other.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, therefore, we have to stand aside and let the slaughter continue, do we not?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, but you have to disaggregate the Sunnis. The people who are attacking the Shi'a are the jihadists under Zarqawi. He hates them as a religious matter, and he is deliberately trying to provoke some kind of religious civil war there. So we cannot stand aside.

The other Sunnis are not doing what Zarqawi is doing. And Zarqawi is still our fundamental enemy there. So we have to do something about the jihadists there. We are trying to. It's a very difficult thing to do. But they're the ones who are specifically provoking this kind of behavior.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see the problem with taking any side in this? For example, if the Sunnis are attacking -- if the Shi'as are attacking the Sunnis in response and we go to the rescue of the Sunnis, we're going to alienate the Shi'as and there's going to be a civil war, with us in the middle taking the heat from both sides.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, when you have huge mobs and crowds running around and dynamiting and burning down 95 mosques -- the American troops are in battle; they don't have the forces on hand to put a stop to this right now. I think you've sort of got to stand aside and see if you can work it out diplomatically and politically. Bring the Sunnis in. But if you can't, John, I see the thing drifting toward civil war. But it is -- you've got to take a look at Tony's scenario or whether we get out.

MS. CLIFT: You can't stitch these groups that hate each other under a common government that's going to be inclusive. It's inevitable, I think, that this country splits up. And I think the U.S. ought to get out there and sort of help them make that occur. Otherwise it's just going to be continuing bloodshed.

MR. BUCHANAN: You've got to --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But the Shi'as have been attacked over and over again, and Sistani has taken a very measured response. He has actually advocated against violence in the streets. This is the first time -- he called for non-violence, but he did say --

MR. BUCHANAN: Mort, we have to see -- the first thing is we have to see if a government of unity is created. If the Sunnis aren't brought in and the interior ministry stays with these guys, then the United States has got to look at the post-government --

MS. CLIFT: The Shi'ites have death squads. They have death squads and an army going out there pillaging that the government can't control.

MR. BLANKLEY: Quick point. Look, if you have a real civil war, if we don't engage with the Shi'as to win it, then you're going to have the Turks come in against the Kurds. You're going to have the Iranians come in on behalf of the Shi'as. The Saudis and others are going to help the Sunnis. And it is a worse situation. I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, to remind the audience, 60 percent of the population is Shi'a. Forty percent are Sunni.



MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no. Twenty percent are Sunni --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Twenty percent are Sunni.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and 20 percent are Kurdish.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you've got a lot -- and the Kurds are having their own internal battle within Kurdistan.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is this the beginning of a civil war in Iraq? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it is, not only in Iraq. I think it's the beginning of a Shi'a-Sunni conflict that goes beyond Iraq into Saudi Arabia, and I think it involves a lot of other countries, and the Turks in Kurdistan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: I stand by my comment. It's the middle of a civil war.


MR. BLANKLEY: It's too soon to tell whether the center will hold or not. But certainly there's increasing evidence that we're on the precipice of a civil war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are those who say we're in a civil war already.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think we're in a civil war and I don't think this means we're in a civil war. I think we'll get past this. It's been kept out of Baghdad. But it certainly has the potential to develop that way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the Saudis and the Jordanians and the Egyptians and the Syrians are going to let this degenerate into a civil war with a potential terrorist state emerging? When are the Arabs going to get into this fight, if ever?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They are not going to get into this fight. What they're concerned -- the leadership of these countries are concerned with basically one thing: How do they preserve their own leadership in the country? They're not about to take the risk of getting into whatever is going to be going on there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, no matter what happens there --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No matter what.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- they will stay out because of their own internal restive populations?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MS. CLIFT: I disagree, because if we take the path that Tony's suggesting, that we line up with the Shi'ites, they are the minority in that region. And I think the Sunni brotherhood will then get involved and there could be a wider war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, what's our superior -- our primary public policy right now?

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me just say that Eleanor --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You said some of that, but I want to get out of this quickly. What is it?

MR. BUCHANAN: All right. The primary public policy is a government of national unity; get technocrats in control of the interior ministry, get the death squads out of there, and try to hold this thing together and get people in charge who want to keep the country together.

Mort's got a good point.

It is not yet over there into civil war, but it is sure tending that way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, don't you think, with 2006 looming, that we are going to withdraw our troops to the borders and let them fight it out inside, and our central purpose would be interdiction of anything going in?

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what's going to happen, John, I think. I think we're all going to wait and see if the government is working. And if it's workable, I don't think anyone will demand an American withdrawal before November. If it collapses, a lot will.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer to the civil-war question is not quite yet. But when we do withdraw, then we will see the fireworks, as Eleanor says.

Issue Two: Port Whine.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): (From videotape.) It is ridiculous to say you're taking secret steps to make sure that it's okay for a nation that had ties to 9/11 to take over part of our port operations in many of our largest ports. This has to stop.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Bush this week authorized a company in the United Arab Emirates to take over shipping operations at major seaports in the United States. That authorization created a firestorm. Mr. Bush faced it head-on. "The fact that the UAE is an Arab nation is no reason to abort the deal."

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) I think it sends a terrible signal to friends around the world that it's okay for a company from one country to manage the port but not -- a country that plays by the rules and has got a good track record from another part of the world can't manage the port.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Members from both parties vehemently disagree and are vowing to block the transaction.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): (From videotape.) Our legislation will go to the floor, House, Senate, next week, and it's going to pass like a hot knife through butter. REP. PETER KING (R-NY): (From videotape.) If we learned anything on 9/11, it's we can never be too careful.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): (From videotape.) It's unbelievably tone-deaf politically, at this point in our history.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Bush emphasized that the security of all U.S. ports will not be surrendered to anybody.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward. The company has been cooperative with the United States government. The company will not manage port security. The security of our ports will continue to be managed by the Coast Guard and Customs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Dubai Ports World now says that the transaction will go forward as planned but that the U.S. operations will be segregated out for now. Does Bush now have the time to build congressional and public support to get his Dubai deal? Tony Blankley.

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know, because all that they've agreed to so far is that, for some short period of time, they will be a silent partner, but that after that they're going to be in full management. And I have to say that the White House has not fully described the security relationship to these ports.

I happened to meet with executives of an American port owners group who are managing another port some months ago, and they explained that while the Coast Guard and the Customs do their duties, that the managers themselves are intimately interfacing with both of those elements of security within the security perimeter and understand the methods and operations. So we have a fundamental issue of whether, in fact, security is being compromised. Time alone will not resolve that for the president.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MS. CLIFT: And for the president to say, "Oh, a privately-owned company in Britain is the same as a company owned by an Arab emirate," as though there's no difference, is the ultimate in spin or B.S. coming from this administration.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's ridiculous.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just a moment. I want to stress that very point. If Great Britain thinks it's okay and they're going to be subject to the same kind of ministrations as going to be given to our ports over in Britain, why shouldn't we argue that if the Brits say it's okay, it's okay for us? MS. CLIFT: Why don't we examine it instead of trying to slip it through secretly? The Arab Emirates -- there are princes there, just as there are in Saudi Arabia, who are probably more sympathetic to al Qaeda perhaps. The Emirates were basically the banker for the terrorists. They're an ally in the same sense that President Musharraf in Pakistan is an ally. Fine, if the president can prove that the security guarantees are here, but you can't just do this and expect everyone to trust the administration and trust him. The trust in this administration is long since gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Her point is pretty well taken, Mort. What's the best way for Bush to save the deal?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I have to say to you that the best way for him to save the deal is not to be dishonest about what the role of the company manager or the people who manage the terminals is in the security. That is ridiculous. I don't think he can save this deal. I think he's lost it politically. It is the worst piece of politics I've seen since the Carter administration managed to demonstrate their political skills. So I don't know how he saves it at this stage of the game.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, have you taken note that Israel is opening a mission to Dubai and that I, having been in Dubai eight months ago, noted that Israel was there poking around and doing business there?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If you got to Dubai eight months ago, it proves their security is not very good, John. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of Israel's mission in Dubai? Isn't that encouraging?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't we all need Islamic friends?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. But you don't put your security at risk under these circumstances.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where's the security risk?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Here is the security risk.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you see that?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The Customs people set up the security rules, but the security rules are implemented by the company.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Our U.S. Navy goes into the port of Dubai and our Navy has bigger guns than the government of the UAE.

MR. BUCHANAN: John -- MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm sure, but are we going to use them against the UAE if we have a terrorist attack?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's no history of anything like that.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know what's going on in Dubai? Do you know what's going on in Dubai?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I do. I know the Americans are in there. There are military; there are ships in there to an enormous degree.

But I can tell you this. When Bubba in Mississippi woke up and found out Arab sheiks are taking control of our eastern ports, it was all over for Bush.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For political reasons.

MR. BUCHANAN: For reasons --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For political reasons, not on merit.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, on merit.

MR. BUCHANAN: They want to know why they're running America's ports and why Americans aren't running them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Look, for those of us who have been to Teheran and flown directly to Dubai, we know that strategically the UAE cannot be matched in the area.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, they can't be --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Am I right or wrong?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. You're absolutely right.

MR. BUCHANAN: That doesn't mean that you --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You're absolutely right about that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is another reason for maintaining -- if we were to renege on the deal -- Bush is right; if we were to renege on the deal, it would be terrible.

MS. CLIFT: They were also --

MR. BUCHANAN: It would not be terrible, John. Look, there's no doubt he's going to get a black eye in the Arab world, very much so. But I'll tell you this. For his own benefit and for the country, get rid of this deal. It's a loser. Cut your losses. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about this rubbish of the UAE having recognized the Taliban government as only one of three governments? Now, King knows better than that, Peter King. He knows, for example, that the Saudis recognized the government. He knows that Pakistan recognized the government.

MR. BUCHANAN: But John, that is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, if we can trust Pakistan with our troops using the equivalent of --

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't want Pakistan running our ports either.

MS. CLIFT: Exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pakistan is our ally.

MR. BUCHANAN: But it shouldn't be running America's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the Saudis are our ally.

MR. BUCHANAN: They shouldn't be running our ports.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the UAE is our ally. Do you know what's happening in Dubai? Do you know what's happening there?

MS. CLIFT: They're ambiguous allies. They're ambiguous allies who have their own national interest at heart. And A.Q. Khan's nuclear shipments went through Dubai.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, but that was before 9/11.

MS. CLIFT: And so there is unnecessary -- well, it's an unnecessary risk.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A.Q. Khan's shipments went through about 25 different ports around the world.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a phony argument.

MS. CLIFT: I don't think we want to share the logistical details of how we operate ports with a company that is owned by a government that has a mixed record.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If there is any chance to make this deal work, he has to handle it much better politically than he did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean he bungled.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Bungled? Bungled isn't the word. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you trying to tell me that Cheney bungled it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No -- Cheney was the gang that couldn't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the Iraq war is a bungle?



MR. ZUCKERMAN: The Cheney week, it was the government that couldn't shoot straight. This is the week the government couldn't think straight.

MR. BLANKLEY: There's a silver lining in this, and the silver lining is that finally the Democratic Party and the Republican Party agree on the importance of --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Port security.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- of port security and on the importance of using profiling of a national or ethnic basis, if necessary and reasonable. We now have the Democrats on record. This is progress in understanding the nature of the enemy.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's exactly right.

MS. CLIFT: Bush looks weak and confused when he confesses he didn't know about this deal until he read about it in the newspapers. And Democrats and Republicans are together.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we point out --

MS. CLIFT: And the president is at war with his own base over national security.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, it is quite clear --

MS. CLIFT: It's a disaster politically.

MR. BUCHANAN: Tony's point is right. Frankly, we have been at war beside the Brits again and again and again. And the truth is, we trust the Brits to a degree we do not trust Arabs running our security operations.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we point out that the security operations are in the hands of the U.S. Coast Guard?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's the point you've made. MR. BLANKLEY: No, it's the opposite of the point I made.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're in the hands -- nothing is changing in that regard. They're in the hands of our Customs officials.

MR. BLANKLEY: But both Mort and I have explained to you how the management has an active role in the security. Now, that's the reality. It's not sufficient to say the Coast Guard.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They are going to manage the terminals.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, that's not true.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're not managing the whole port.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But they do have --

MS. CLIFT: They will be privy to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Furthermore, they have subcontractors all over the place.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, your point that it is a black eye for the United States if we do not do this deal with Dubai is absolutely right. But it is also fair to say that, since they do implement the security provisions and they will see what our security capabilities are and what our security weaknesses are, it is a real danger. Therefore, what we have to do is actually address the issue of port security, which we have not done.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me get your judgment on this issue. This issue has now traveled all around the world.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's been in the newspapers, been on television.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Islamists everywhere have seen it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think if we renege and we put our finger in the eye of Dubai -- and that's what it will be -- MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- it will be reductively seen, and it probably is, a terrible slur.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If that's seen, and you're an Islamic militant, do you think you're going to take that lying down? Or is the recruitment level of al Qaeda going to rise?


MS. CLIFT: There are so many slurs --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't disagree with your judgment on that. The problem is, if there was any chance to avoid it, they did it in exactly the wrong way to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, the point is, we've reached a point now of no return. It has to go through with some cosmetic change. It must go through.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. Listen, putting a finger in the eye of the sheiks is not going to upset the masses. The cartoons are what upset the masses. But you are right. It's going to be seen as anti- Arab.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's going to be seen as anti-Arab, and that's going to foment more terrorism around the world and a higher level of recruitment.

MR. BUCHANAN: It will damage our reputation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, exit question.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And we may lose the alliance with the United Arab Emirates, which has been so critical for our efforts.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we agree --

MS. CLIFT: On the list of grievances, this will be about number 45. And we will not lose the alliance with the Arab Emirates because they need us as well.

MR. BUCHANAN: They have nowhere else to go. MS. CLIFT: And there will probably be a face-saving exit. Maybe another company will step in. Why would Dubai need this in the first place? The ports are so insecure that somebody could easily get something through. Would they want to be blamed for that?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, the Democrats, who are now on high performance, in full plumage on this issue --

MS. CLIFT: And so are a lot of Republicans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- they know -- Hillary Clinton doesn't know how essential this deal is and how helpful this deal is, in view of the strategic value of the UAE? Of course she knows.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Hillary Clinton a demagogue? You know she is.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that Peter King is.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no? Are they demagoguing this to pieces?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, they are demagoguing the issue. You are right, John. The issue is being --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let's listen to him.

MR. BUCHANAN: The issue is being demagogued, but there is substance behind the demagoguery.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: After Congress conducts its review, will the Dubai deal go forward substantially as it is? Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Whistles.) No. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: No. We have to quit worshiping at the god of globalization.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think it's going to be modified more than -- it's going to be modified substantially and then passed.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It'll have to be modified, but it will be modified in order to avoid exactly the problem -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Substantially?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, substantially.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, the guts will be cut out of it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forget it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If it's only one part of this deal, okay? It is a huge deal that goes way beyond this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, but it's insubstantial.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, in terms of -- the total deal is a --

MR. BUCHANAN: They're not going to run our ports.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is insubstantial modifications and it'll sail through.

Issue Three: No Cheap Skate.

JOEY CHEEK (Olympic gold medalist): (From videotape.) I've been blessed to come from the country I have and have the family I have and have the support from the U.S. Olympic Committee and from U.S. Speed Skating. So for me to have this opportunity, the best way to say thanks that I can think of is to give something back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: After winning a gold medal in the men's 500- meter speed-skating sprint, American athlete Joey Cheek donated his $25,000 U.S. Olympic Committee bonus to help suffering children in the Darfur region of Sudan in Africa. Five days later, Cheek made another donation to the same charity after winning the silver medal in the men's 1,000-meter sprint, $15,000, totaling $40,000 for both wins.

Question: Cheek said that he gained extra motivation knowing that he would give his bonus to charity. So will competing for charity become the new Olympic performance enhancer, do you think, Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know. You know, it was very commendable of the young man. I must say, I didn't know that they got paid for winning. I thought these were amateurs. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a bonus.

MR. BLANKLEY: A bonus. I mean, it's still money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where did he get his inspiration from?

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know.


MR. BUCHANAN: Mother Teresa. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Bye bye.