Wolfowitz was Witting in What He Did — Battle Looms


wolfeurope.jpgThis will be the big week in finally sorting out the Paul Wolfowitz mess at the World Bank. If Wolfowitz resigns, the Bank will have to initiate a period of healing and reorganization to assure its supporters and clients that it is going to expend its energies trying to help the developing world rather than on internal politics.
If Wolfowitz somehow survives, the Bank will start hemorrhaging staff — from the senior levels to entry level — and will likely lose needed European financial support for the next round of development capital needed to infuse World Bank resources.
Some have allegedly found evidence that Wolfowitz knew he was crossing appropriate lines in over-directing Shaha Riza’s compensation and performance evaluation “package.” At minimum, Wolfowitz has made this battle about himself rather than the survival and reputation of the Bank he heads — and for that enough, he should go as Sebastian Mallaby writes.
I have been in touch with staff from the World Bank this morning who inform me that many in the place will engage in serious internal civil disobedience if Wolfowitz does not resign or is not fired. Blue ribbons worn openly to protest Wolfowitz’s continued tenure are being worn throughout the Bank. Tensions are seriously rising.
I have been reminded by many that perhaps wrecking the Bank is what some supporters of Wolfowitz hope to achieve. This could be true, but I’m not that cynical yet.
I think that Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson and his Deputy at Treasury Robert Kimmitt and other important political and economic personalities around President Bush realize that this vanity play that Wolfowitz is making will cost the U.S. significantly from its dwindling pool of global political capital.
To many Europeans, Wolfowitz’s tenaciousness in fighting for a job he can’t really ever have back resurrects for many the feeling of watching America embrace unilateralism as its preference with equal disdain for its allies and other key stakeholders in the international system.
The Wolfowitz fight is a fight over unilateralism all over again.
For those who follow Warren Olney’s excellent KCRW show, “To the Point,” which airs between 12 pm and 1 pm Pacific time and is on at 3 pm EST on the local Natioinal Public Radio affiliated WAMU station in Washington, DC, I will be on talking about Wolfowitz and the World Bank — along with Krishna Guha of the Financial Times, Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and others.
— Steve Clemons


15 comments on “Wolfowitz was Witting in What He Did — Battle Looms

  1. Internationalist says:

    Paul’s character comes into sharp relief when you consider that his wife, Clare Selgin Wolfowitz, has been forced to sign a non-disclosure document (By Paul’s lawyers) to protect her chance to receive alimony and child support.
    Clare separated from Paul when he had a series of affairs with staff and students at Johns Hopkins where he was dean of SAIS.


  2. Gadfly says:

    The corrupt neo-con Bushies care nothing about the rule of law; nor do they believe that rules & regulations apply to themselves; and, they arrogantly defy the norms of decency.
    Wolfie behaves like a little mafia hit-man– and doesn’t give a damn about his destructive impact upon the institution that he soils by his very squalid presence. Nor does he care whom he harms so long as he can hold onto power & steal as much $$$ as possible.
    Of course, oil-slut Rice “supports” him, as she supports any dirty filthy slob who furthers the interests of Big Oil and the Military Industrial Complex. Rice is a bald-faced liar; a traitorous pig; and a law-breaker, who should be arrested and put on trial for treason.
    Bush & Cheney are desperately trying to force/coerce the Iraqi “government” [sic] into passing their Corporate-Oil-Rape legislation, for otherwise they will have nothing to show for their insane and catastrophic blood-bath in Iraq. Hence, Rice is sent over to strong-arm the Iraqis, followed by the ugly goon Cheney.
    Wolfie is no different. Bush wants Wolfie to coerce poor nations into letting the Carlyle Group and Corporate thugs rape & steal & loot their resources.
    Wolfie must go– and so must Bush, Cheney, Rice, Gonzales, Rove– all of whom deserve to be impeached and to be put on trial for treason.


  3. NeilS says:

    Wolfowitz wants to stay and Bush wants to keep him because:
    1. it would show political weakeness to have a Bush nominee deposed at this time, e.g. the same reason that Gonzalez stays;
    2. they don’t really think that Wolf has done anything wrong because patronage is the Bush administration’s SOP;
    3. and as you say, weakening international institutions is really one of their long term goals.


  4. DonMidwest says:

    I was going to use the quote that Marlowe started his email with.
    My take was opposite to his. Steve, you should be cynical that what the Bush administration is doing is destroying instutions. It is happening all around us and it will still take a miracle to reverse what has been done.
    On DailyKos today there was a post that said that only 3% of the documents from McCain’s Indian Oversight hearings have been released. The little bit released brought down Abramoff. Who else is in the rest of them. The admin has either destroyed, or done their best to destroy instutitions like: EPA, FDA, military, justice and so on. Now that Bush has appointed half of the federal judges, it will take decades to move them all through the system.
    WE are in danger. Freedom is delicate and easily destroyed. There have been no extensions of freedom in decades, but many restrictions.
    Steve, you need to be cynical because we need to save the constution and system of laws in the nation.


  5. Marlowe says:

    “I have been reminded by many that perhaps wrecking the Bank is what some supporters of Wolfowitz hope to achieve. This could be true, but I’m not that cynical yet.”
    It is the Europeans who have made this a battle. It is they who have demanded Wolfie’s resignation, and who threaten to destroy the World Bank.
    Yet you are blaming the Americans. There is considerable evidence that this was a European power play…you choose to ignore this.
    If Bush caves, the World Bank “will likely lose needed European financial support for the next round of development capital needed to infuse World Bank resources.”
    But the US is the largest source of funding for the world bank. If Wolfie goes, could not the World Bank lose US funding?
    No. The US are expected to be adults. The Europeans will withdraw their support, and you will cheer. If the US withdrew its World Bank support, you would be outraged, and point to the people hurt in the developing world.
    This a power play by the Europeans and the technocrats who support corruption as usual among client states in the developing world. Wolfie was stupid enough to have fallen into it. For that he should resign.
    And Bush should appoint a right bastard in his place.


  6. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sandy at May 14, 2007 03:58 PM
    Yep, we’ve become so damn “civilized” that we have become uncivilized….willing to watch and allow and comment on any barbarity..but not actually willing to do anything outside the laws, that the barbarians regularly break, to stop it.
    Makes no sense to me.


  7. winona says:

    Completely off topic, but why is he standing behind a rocket ship?


  8. Sandy says:

    It’s amazing, is it not, that we just continue to sit here and marvel….day after day….month after month….year after year….at what these people are doing?
    We write…and talk….and write some more about it.
    And, nothing happens.
    Which they KNOW.
    They must be laughing. Really.
    And, just like Tony Soprano….they “get it”….right into the sunset. When
    And then we’ll write about that….outraged…and “shocked”.


  9. Carroll says:

    I want to wake up one morning and read in the headlines that all the neo’s and their minions have “dissappeared”…without a trace…never to be heard from again.
    The next day I want to read that radicals hacked into all the bank accounts of the presidential candidates and sent their campaign loot to never-never land…never to be recovered…
    And just to make sure the money funnel caves in I want their power buyer backers fortunes to also be hijacked away by cyber magic…every last dime.
    I want to see doors slamming shut and everyone in DC put on lockdown until they realize the public isn’t going to stand for “bizness” as usual in letting these neo criminals and their political enablers skate on their crimes.


  10. corinne says:

    “To the Point” is airs at 3 PM daily on WAMU (88.5 FM).


  11. diane says:

    Read Juan Cole’s take on Wolfie’s behavior (Informed Comment)….makes good sense.


  12. profmarcus says:

    unless there’s some big, hairy bush administration initiative that hasn’t been pushed through yet, it’s a puzzlement to me why wolfie would even WANT to stay… i mean, if he does, his effectiveness will be roughly equivalent to that of tits on a boar… my hunch is that the world bank’s full impact on iraq is just in the initial stages, a move that wolfie has pushed hard for, and that, because of the resistance of world bank officials to doing it, will probably be stopped dead in its tracks if wolfie goes…
    so, what’s so important about the world bank being heavily involved in iraq…? well, let’s try oil for starters… if the oil law passes with the provisions intact that are so astonishingly favorable to global oil companies and to the u.s., the world bank can back that up with loans for infrastructure development whose terms are also written for u.s. benefit, such as payback being required to come from oil revenues…
    both the world bank and the imf have a long and rich history of benign extortion, loaning vast sums of money to underdeveloped and emerging economies with terms that guarantee access to and/or control over big chunks of a country’s resources… in addition, if the world bank becomes heavily involved in iraq, it provides more of a legitimate cover so that it doesn’t look quite so much like the u.s. and the oil companies are the ones really running the show…
    just some thoughts…


  13. pauline says:

    If Wolfowitz was playing baseball, wouldn’t the umpire be hollering “strike two” about now?
    Heck, help start a dirty little war and then help your girl friend to a giant pay raise and state secrets is not my idea of a fun, friendly guy!
    May the World Bank call “strike three” this week and send this big liar to a cold shower.
    May 14, 2007
    Wolfie under Pressure
    by emptywheel
    Oh, sure, there’s the pressure Paul Wolfowitz will be under tomorrow when he tells his side of the story again, in an attempt to keep his job. But I’m most amused by the portrayal in this article of the pressure his girlfriend, Shaha Ali Riza, put him under. It appears that the Bank became aware of the conflict of interest involving Riza, so they pressured Wolfie to find some way to take care of it. But rather than let Wolfie easily resolve the problem, apparently, Riza lawyered up to increase the pressure on him for a good settlement.
    [Wolfowitz lawyer Bob Bennett] added that the evidence from Mr. Coll and other officials shows that Mr. Wolfowitz “agreed that he should not be involved” in setting the arrangements for his companion, but that the ethics committee “wanted him to get a concrete, practical result in a very sticky situation.”
    At the heart of the dispute between Mr. Wolfowitz and his accusers is what each side claims to have known about the other’s actions and intentions. The decision to transfer Shaha Ali Riza, Mr. Wolfowitz’s companion and a bank employee, was made after an initial discussion by both sides, although Ms. Riza hired legal representation to fight the transfer.
    I have no idea if said lawyer is Victoria Toensing, who currently represents Riza. Though the picture of Toensing pushing Wolfowitz to arrange a boondoggle for Riza is all the more ironic.
    In any case, it appears that the pressure from his girlfriend made Wolfie get all secretive about the terms of her transfer to the State Department.
    A former bank official, Ad Melkert, acknowledged that he told Mr. Wolfowitz to take care of a compensation package for Ms. Riza. But Mr. Melkert said that, contrary to what the bank president maintains, Mr. Wolfowitz went behind bank officials’ backs to arrange the terms of the promotion and salary increase, which was large, as Ms. Riza was transferred to the State Department.
    One of the bank officials who spoke Sunday said that one document appeared to suggest that Mr. Coll had told Mr. Melkert and Mr. Dani’o that he was told by Mr. Wolfowitz not to tell them about the details of the compensation package for Ms. Riza.
    Many bank officials have said that Mr. Wolfowitz was under pressure from Ms. Riza and her lawyers to resolve the matter quickly.
    Now I’d leave it at that–with the questions about what kind of relationship Wolfie and Riza had if the first thing she tried to do when their relationship became a problem was to increase the pressure on him, was to lawyer up.
    But remember–one of the secrets about this transfer is how Riza, a foreign national, managed to get a security clearance for her job at State–clearance no one at the Department knows about. Did Riza pressure Wolfie into giving her access to classified information?


  14. Pissed Off American says:

    Meanwhile, Rice ignores a congressional subpoena, Gonzales does the same as far as requested documents go, Shlozman flips Congress the bird, Goodling gets immunity, the Pentagon shuts off our lower ranked service people’s ability to testify before Congress, and blocks their access to a huge portion of the internet. AIPAC continues to unabashedly lie about Iran’s actions, millions of barrels of oil are “missing” in Iraq, and I am now paying close to four bucks a gallon while the oil companies enjoy record profits.
    And Bush continues to set the stage for martial law. Will the West Coast be the recipient of the looming repeat of Bush’s trifecta, or is middle America going to experience the next “it can’t happen here” event?
    Stay tuned. Whats the death of a few more thousand Americans, when you’ve already murdered over a million Iraqis?
    Yeah, I know. I’m just a conspiracy theorist.
    Now, what were you saying about Wolfowitz?


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