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Behind the Scenes at the World Bank

(UPDATE: Wizbang Blue's Steve Crickmore lists the "short-list" replacement candidates for the World Bank President's job, and the oddsmaker's choices, in the comment thread below.)

 
bell1.jpgNow that Wolfowitz's resignation is a fait accompli, details of the behind-the-scenes struggles are starting to emerge. Not surprisingly, European backlash against the swaggering Bush administration is at the core of the on-going dispute.

First, some background...

Established at the end of World War II as part of a restructuring of the world financial system known as Bretton Woods, the World Bank and its sister International Monetary Fund were tasked with rebuilding economies ravaged by war. The major parties to the agreement - the Allies that won the war - decided that the World Bank president would be chosen by the United States and the leader of the IMF would be appointed by major European powers, a policy that has persisted since.

As the bank's biggest donor and largest shareholder with a 17 percent stake, the United States also maintains effective control over broad policy issues with veto power over major bank decisions. Critics of the World Bank say that makes the bank too reliant on U.S. foreign policy.

...and what's transpired since Wolfie's appointment:

The backlash against Wolfowitz has reopened the debate over whether the agency should have greater independence. At the very least, it has increased pressure on the White House to cede some of the authority for naming the next bank president to seek a wider consensus among member countries.

"You're seeing a kind of clash of cultures between a highly centralized, determined, single-minded and authoritarian style of management in an institution which is multilateral and therefore has a diverse set of interests and ideas and perspectives that is embodied by the nature of that fact that 185 countries are members of the bank," said Bradford.

Bush appointed John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador (after failing to have Bolton confirmed by Congress) in an attempt to further realign the United Nations more to his linking, and apparently the World Bank's board has been struggling with some behind-the-scenes concerns over Bush and Wolfowitz's plans for the World Bank. Those familiar with the goals and objectives of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) should not be surprised by any of this.

Bush planted Wolfie -- literally planted him -- in the lead position at the World Bank -- for obvious reasons -- as I wrote recently, "[I]t's apparent from the chronology linked that "Wolfowitz has maintained a prominent position as one of the puppeteers "behind the curtain" in the White House. He was also one of the signatories to the Project for the New American Century's open letter to President Clinton, which called for action against Iraq long before the fantasies were spun about WMDs and yellow-cake Uranium."

Wolfie dutifully attempted to further PNAC's objectives in his position as President, a source of controversy that lead to his ouster:

Several of Wolfowitz's initial appointments at the Bank proved controversial, including two US nationals (Robin Cleveland and Kevin Kellems) formerly with the Bush administration, whom he appointed as close advisors with $250,000 tax-free contracts.[cite] Another appointee, Juan José Daboub has been criticized by his colleagues and others for attempts to change policies on family planning and climate change towards a conservative line."[cite][cite]

It will take years to build back the international relationships President Bush has destroyed during his terms in office - and if a Republican is elected President we need to make damn sure that they do not share an allegiance and adherence to the same doctrine promulgated by Bush and the same behind-the-scenes puppeteers.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (4)

Steve Crickmore:

Being an architect of the disastrous Iraqi invasion doesn't seem to have hurt your career prospects with Bush. Indeed it seems almost a prerequisite. It will be interesting if in his choice for his next nominee he continues this pattern. Ladbrokes, the bookmaker in the UK, has some interesting odds and candidates for 'Next President of the World Bank'.

Ashraf Ghani 4/5 *(currently Chancellor of Kabul University)
Ngozi Okongo Iweala 5/2
Robert Zoellick 7/2 *(the one I fancy to win)
Robert Kimmitt 5/1
Senator Richard Luger 14/1
Stanley Fischer 14/1
John Bolton 16/1
Tony Blair 16/1
Anthony Donald Rumsfeld 100/1

I read this morning that Kimmitt has indicated he's not interested - and I'd bet that Bush won't set any precedents, and will definitely name an American... so Zoellick looks like "a good bet" to me, Steve.

and yes, Zoellick is one of the signers of the Project for the New American Century's letter to President Clinton.

Steve Crickmore:

And Zoellick was a paid consultant on the Enron advisory board before joining the Bush administration...He's got the perfect CV to be a high-level Bush appointment.




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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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