The World Bank’s Floundering CEO

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wolfowitz britain.jpg
The World Bank does matter. If the world is ever going to turn the “developing nation challenge” around, the Bank has been and will continue to be a vital part of that process. But the place is coming unglued over the Wolfowitz-Riza scandal and the staff have become profoundly distracted by lapses by their leader.
It’s CEO, Paul Wolfowitz, is now declaring — in a very terse tone — that he has been treated “unfairly” and “shabbily” by the World Bank Board.
I would like to remind Mr. Wolfowitz that he started these problems — and they did not start with Shaha Riza. If anything, she is only the crescendo in a long line of misbehaviors and serious judgment lapses that range from inappropriately rewarding old Bush administration, political and SAIS pals like former Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems, former Mitch McConnell staffer Robin Cleveland, and perhaps even former Dan Quayle chief-of-staff Karl Jackson.
Kellems became a spear-carrier continuing to defend Wolfowitz from those who wanted to critique his decisions and performance as Deputy Secretary of Defense and his key role in the Iraq War. Kellems reportedly led crusades against Bank staff who refused to yield to Wolfowitz’s views. Kellems instituted a “you are with us, or you’re with them” strategy inside the Bank.
Robin Cleveland, implicated but not investigated in the Boeing air tanker scandal by trying to get her brother a job, got the portfolio for being a lead on Wolfowitz’s anti-corruption effort.
Karl Jackson has been keeping his head very low — but he’s been a kind of roving “fixer” for Wolfowitz. Some like Jackson and others don’t. Most can’t figure out what he does as the “third” political appointment Wolfowitz made but who has escaped much press scrutiny. What can be reported though is that Karl Jackson has told numerous others that “Wolfowitz has no plan.” Jackson has stated that there is no benchmarking, planning, priority development, or any serious organizational scheme beyond the ad hoc and reactive that is driving Wolfowitz’s support of one World Bank program over another. Jackson has been trying to be of assistance to Wolfowitz and the Bank in his senior advisor role — but he has argued that there is no anchor and driving agenda at the top.
Jackson’s alleged comments are perhaps the most important and revealing. Wolfowitz should resign from the Bank not only because he has lost the support of his staff and may have engaged in behaviors with regard to his girlfriend’s employment circumstances that have triggered serious doubts about his own judgment, he also has been an ineffective CEO on substance.
If one of his closest friends and advisors says that the CEO is not scripting a plan for his staff to follow, then that should be enough for the World Bank Board to call for his resignation — and for Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to make the phone call to Wolfowitz calling it a day.
Wolfowitz will have a chance on Monday to defend himself with lawyer Robert Bennett silent but at his side. Odds makers think Wolfowitz is on his way out.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

28 comments on “The World Bank’s Floundering CEO

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  2. Andy says:

    It is an absolute shame how such blatant corruption surrounding the whole of the Wolfie career is protected by the Bush administration.
    I would not be surprised if Wofie now nominated Halliburton, KBR or Bechtel as the outsourced contractors for the World Bank projects. After all, they were the main contractors, fast track, for the initial Irak “recovery program” and guess who benefits from these companies…

    Reply

  3. Gadfly says:

    “Ecuadoreans care little about Wolfowitz’s girlfriend…” From post by “JohnH”
    Neither do I… Wolfie & his neo-concubine are not important — other than the fact that they are crooks using World Bank monies to enrich themselves.
    What is problematic for the World Bank is the following:–
    * Wolfie & his neo-con cronies are using funds to coerce nations that do not go-along with the neo-fascist policies of the corrupt Bush/Cheney junta.
    * Wolfie is a bald-faced liar- traitor- and, pro-fascist mouth-piece who damages every institution that is so unfortunate as to be sullied by his corrosize influence.
    * Wolfie has no respect for laws; rules & regulations– including those which he demands be applied to others (but not himself). Wolfie considers Wolfie to be above ethics, principles, laws, rules & regulations.
    Wolfie is such a disgrace that he should be banned from serving in any educational; governmental; and/or private instutition or organization whereby the public trust is at risk.
    Should Wolfie stay at the World Bank– the institution will no longer be viable, which is perhaps for the best. For then, the American people should refuse to have any public and/or private funds invested in an institution which will ultimately serve to enrich the neo-con Bushies and their criminal cohorts.

    Reply

  4. Dirk says:

    JohnH touched on it above; apparently Ecuador has just expelled the World Bank envoy from the country, because they reneged on loan back in 2005.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6598027.stm
    “Ecuador ‘expels World Bank envoy’
    Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has ordered the expulsion of the World Bank’s representative in the country, sources say.”

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  5. Mackie says:

    Damn comb-licker.

    Reply

  6. Carroll says:

    Out,out dam spot!
    WP..
    says WB board will investigate more of Wolf’s WB management beyond just the Riza affair.

    Reply

  7. Frank says:

    I don’t mind him screwing his mistress…I do mind that my tax dollars are paying for it..
    Wolfowitz getting his mistress a job in the state department, earning a spectacluar tax free salary, is an insult to all of US taxpayers let alone the world bank.
    Hang this Nuremburg quality bastard!

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  8. JohnH says:

    As other posters have said, Wolfowitz is only the most visible manifestation of an institutionally corrupt organization. Naomi Klein eviscerates them:
    http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/27/794/
    “The truth is that the bank’s credibility was fatally compromised when it forced school fees on students in Ghana in exchange for a loan; when it demanded that Tanzania privatize its water system; when it made telecom privatization a condition of aid for Hurricane Mitch; when it demanded labor “flexibility” in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami in Sri Lanka; when it pushed for eliminating food subsidies in post-invasion Iraq. Ecuadoreans care little about Wolfowitz’s girlfriend; more pressing is that in 2005, the Bank withheld a promised $100 million after the country dared to spend a portion of its oil revenues on health and education. Some antipoverty organization.”
    Fortunately, emerging markets are generating such massive foreign exchange surpluses that Ecuadoreans can find other sources like Venezuela to lend them money without conditions intended to coddle multinationals at the expense of finance health and education programs.

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  9. bAkho says:

    In the spirit of “Sex and Corruption in our Foreign Aid Agencies Department”:
    The US-AID director, Tobias resigned abruptly on Friday, April 27. The former Eli Lilly Drug company exec who was at one time in charge of the Bush global anti-AIDS program was on the “DC Madame” list. Apparently, the calls were placed for “Massage only- no sex involved”. It is good to hear that the administration official who was preaching abstinance globally as an AIDs prevention, was sagely following his own advice. However, I don’t understand why a high-paid government official wouldn’t go to a legitimate medical massage facility or join a gym that provided such facilities?
    Tobias, who is married, said there had been “no sex,” and that recently he had been using another service “with Central Americans” to provide massages. It kind of gives a new meaning to “foreign aid”. It also raises questions about exploitation of “undocumented” labor by high Bush Administration officials and “Bwana” behavior and attitudes in our State Department.
    So much of what is wrong with Bush administration foreign policy is rolled into this one scandal.

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  10. Gadfly says:

    A committee at the World Bank is reportedly having a desk-plaque made for Wolfie, in the event that the board does not have the bottle to fire the creep. The desk-plaque will read: “Do As I Say, NOT As I Do”.
    Wolfie is now discredited in no uncertain terms:
    “World Bank panel concludes Wolfowitz broke ethics rules
    From the Washington Post
    April 28, 2007
    NEW YORK — A World Bank committee investigating President Paul D. Wolfowitz has nearly completed a report that it plans to give the institution’s full governing board, concluding that he breached ethics rules when he engineered a pay raise for his girlfriend, three senior bank officials said Friday…”…
    Continued on http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-wolfowitz28apr28,1,6020540.story?coll=la-news-a_section

    On this basis, Robert Bennett should be advised that his presence before the board is not necessary- and, Wolfie should be told that he might want to apply to his paymasters in the extreme right-wing of the Likud Party in Israel for some other plum position whereby probity, ethnics and high standards don’t matter. He’d fit in nicely serving some war-monger-cum-liar like Netanyahu.
    Wolfie has betrayed our nation, and he has violated World Bank rules. He’s simply unfit to serve in any public capacity that requires integrity.

    Reply

  11. Marcia says:

    “To bed, to bed, said Sleepy Head.
    Let’s wait awhile, said Slow.
    Heat up the pot, said Greedy Gut, we’ll eat before we go.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    Is Wolfie too old to join th IDF?
    Since he started a war for the US he didn’t fight in the least he can do is sign up in Israel. They are advertising for a few good men.
    http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=17569
    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) want a few good men like Zach Taylor (photo).
    Actually, the IDF wants a lot of them.
    Taylor is a 20-year-old volunteer from North Hollywood serving in an Israeli infantry battalion of Torah-observant and predominantly ultra-Orthodox soldiers.
    The unit, Nahal Haredi, plans to launch an advertising campaign during the summer in major Jewish newspapers in the United States to augment its ranks with more foreign recruits.
    Taylor is among the surprisingly large number of Americans, of all denominational and secular persuasions, serving in the army, navy and air force of the Jewish state.
    According to official government statistics, their number totals 14,250, of whom 4,419 serve on active duty and 9,831 in the reserves.
    >>>>>>>>
    Wonder why they didn’t enlist for Iraq?..since we are short handed over there after all. What the stats are on IDF dual citizen reservist living in the US serving in Iraq?

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Here’s one for ya POA
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/852930.html
    I suggest since Israel has a 6 billion surplus and the US has a 8 trilion debt we give Wolfowitz to Israel so he can do the same thing for them he did for the US.

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dennis at April 27, 2007 10:20 PM
    >>>>>>>>
    There is an excellent book you would like…not about the WB per se but on the points you mention…it’s “World on Fire” by Amy Chua…(how exporting democracy and capitalism breeds ethnic hatred and poverty)

    Reply

  15. eCAHNomics says:

    I favor radical surgery here. Wolfie is the best thing that ever happened to the WB. Both WB & IMF should be drummed out of business, as the Washington consensus has proved to increase misery around the world. Europe is already starting to divert its poverty reduction funds elsewhere. More of that is called for. Competition in relief of misery, not some grand poobah that is controlled by U.S. And that would go for D admins as well as Rs.

    Reply

  16. Dennis says:

    “The policies of privatization imposed through the World Bank and rules of trade liberalization…are rules and conditionalities that create corporate states – states that usurp resources from people for meeting vital needs and put them in the hands of private corporations for making profits through the privatization of essential services…The World Bank estimates the potential water market at $800 billion…
    “In 1999, the World Bank recommended privatization of Cochabamba’s (Bolivia) municipal water supply company, SEMAPA, through a concession to a private consortium, Aquas del Tunari, which involved International Water, a subsidiary of Bechtel…
    “The private water company doubled water rates. In a city where minimum wage is less than $100 a month, water costs increased to $20 a month, nearly the cost of feeding a family of five for half a month.”
    Source; Third World Traveler.com
    The same kind of thing happened in Ghana.
    That is your World Bank at work. Privatize everything, put all natural resources into the hands of a powerful few.
    So much for corporations and this government caring about third world countries.
    You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.

    Reply

  17. Thom says:

    Hey Steve
    Word’s just come out that Tobias Randall has unexpectedly resigned from the State Dept. He was once a short-lister for Wolfowitz’s job. what do you think?
    http://littlethomsblog.blogspot.com/2007/04/tobias-replacing-wolfowitz.html

    Reply

  18. JohnH says:

    Bush administration mantra: “Leave no crook behind.”

    Reply

  19. reveal says:

    I second Gadfly’s call for a boycott of funding. Also, keep sending e-mails, letters and calls to the bank and appeal to the staff there to make Wolfowitz’s tenure untenable. Let’s show them there are American’s who care and have pride – and will go on record as opposing being represented by a man who buys his relationships. It is really that crass. There are other businesses that cater to that…

    Reply

  20. Reader says:

    Mr. Tenet expresses puzzlement that, since 2001, Al Qaeda has not sent “suicide bombers to cause chaos in a half-dozen American shopping malls on any given day.”
    “I do know one thing in my gut,” he writes. “Al Qaeda is here and waiting.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/27/washington/27intel.html?ei=5090&en=e6f2a5232d75afb5&ex=1335326400&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

    Reply

  21. Gadfly says:

    I concur with those who suggest that, true to form, Bush will insist that the World Bank keep Wolfowitz. With Bush, it’s an “ego-thing”.
    Bush is such a weak man: weak-minded, weak-ethically, and weak-morally– that he’d rather bring the rest of us down with him, than be perceived as “losing”.
    Bush is a stupid little man who sees life in child-like “black-and-white” terms (aka “win” versus “lose”)– mainly because he was never required to make it on his own. Poppy Bush & his cronies always took care of baby-Bush.
    Now, this nation as well as the world community are reaping the disastrous consequences of having such a dim-witted, foolish & ego-maniacal buffoon in office.
    As such, Wolfowitz is hell-bent on staying (just as Gonzales is)– although the neo-con Bushinistas are clearly incompetent, corrupt & devoid of ethics/principles/morality. [Did you see Condi Rice’s disgraceful performance in Geneva yesterday, where she played the bully-boy, yet again demonstrating that she has absolutely no diplomatic skills whatsoever. She is the laughing stock of the diplomatic corps because she doesn’t have the wits to comprehend that negotiations take place “behind closed doors” before you berate critics publically, leaving them no option but to “dig-in their heels”. Condi’s another creep who deserves to be relegated to the trash-heap of history before she does even greater damage that the catastrophic damage she’s done already. (Of course, anyone with a scintilla of knowledge knows that Rice should be hauled-off to jail and be put on trial for treason for lying about the Niger Uranium Yellow-cake forgeries used by the imbecilic Bush to mis-lead us into war, and also for passing on top-secret classified national security secrets to traitors from AIPAC Rosen & Weismann willing to betray our nation to Israel.]
    But, Steve, don’t believe for a moment that Robert Bennett will be “silent” in the meeting with the World Bank board on Monday. I’ve attended enough such meetings to know that Wolfie will make a weak plea in self-defense– and, when confronted with the facts, Bennett will interrupt, and the World Bank board members will be too polite, allowing him to vomit his propaganda screed. Methinks the World Bank board will be fearful of a back-lash from the neo-con Bushies:– for that is the message that this despicable president & his neo-con minion Wolfie has sent thus far. They are used to bully-boy tactics working, tragically for the rest of us.
    The best way to get rid of Wolfie is for donor nations of the world to refuse any-and-all funding to the World Bank until someone who is fit (or, at least respectable) for the job is assigned to replace this despicable War Criminal-cum-Neo-Con Crook.

    Reply

  22. buck turgidson says:

    Ah, Steve! You forgot another crony that Wolfowitz brought with him–Juan Jose Daboub. So far, he’s one person who’s been implicated in tactics most resembling the Bush administration.

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  23. Farinata X says:

    If there truly were justice in this world, both Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz would be tried and convicted and hanged as war criminals.

    Reply

  24. Sandy says:

    Depressing, Punchy, is it not? OTOH, karma’s a bitch. It’ll catch up with the *#$%. Eventually.
    Consider:
    April 26, 2007
    The Puppet Who Cleared the Way for Iraq’s Destruction
    WOLFOWITZ’S WAR
    By Andrew Cockburn
    As defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, was driven from public life thanks to the catastrophe of Iraq, and for the moment at least lurks in obscurity. WOLFOWITZ, his deputy until 2005, contributed in almost equal measure to the debacle, yet managed to slide from the Pentagon into the presidency of a leading international institution with every chance to redeem himself.
    Blame for torture at Abu Ghraib and Guant·namo, bungling over troop levels, chaos in Iraq’s reconstruction, and the general meltdown in Pentagon management has all too often been laid at Rumsfeld’s door alone. However, Wolfowitz was an energetic enabler of these outrages and many other notorious initiatives.
    To cite just one example: among the most infamous documentary testaments to Rumsfeld’s place in the hierarchy of torture is the First Special Interrogation Plan for use at Guant·namo that received his approval in December 2002. It cleared the way for prolonged sleep deprivation, 20-hour interrogations, and sexual and religious humiliation, along with other favoured techniques. But as the document signed by Rumsfeld notes, the plan had earlier been reviewed and approved by “the deputy”, i.e., Wolfowitz.
    There are indications that Wolfowitz was even more hands on when it came to Abu Ghraib. At the May 2006 court martial of Sergeant Santos Cardona, who was one of the low-ranking personnel called to atone for the collective sins of the military establishment, testimony from one of the interrogators alleged that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were in direct contact with the prison and received “nightly briefings” on the intelligence being extracted under torture…..” (more —
    http://www.counterpunch.org/andrew04262007.html

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  25. ... says:

    i agree strongly with the above 2 comments of punchy and poa.. furthermore, the world bank is just a front for the private banking industry and a way to screw over poor countries, by making them indebted to an organization that could care less about their welfare and is more interested in, well…collecting interest. the banking system is a very corrupt system and they are the ones responsible for the world bank and imf. that ought to tell one all they need to know about these organizations.

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  26. Pissed Off American says:

    Want to get an accurate picture of who is a crook in the United States government? Well, its easy. Just make a list of all the people that continue to endorse or support Gonzales or Wolfowitz. No one of even minimal moral fiber can possibly continue to endorse these two with any clear conscience.

    Reply

  27. Punchy says:

    With all due respect, Mr. Clemons, George Bush makes the final call, according to WaPo. It’s his final decision whether or not to fire Wolf for his incompetence. And I can count on one hand–my fist–the number of Bush’s group that Bush has fired in 6 years.
    GB would rather embarrass the entire organization, destroy the WB reputation and morale, and appear to be unyielding in the face of opposition, than fire a loyal employee. It’s just not in his nature. Wolf stays….regardless and despite what the WB BofD votes.

    Reply

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